Category Archives: democrats republicans

OBSERVATION: The stupid politics of evil

As an Illinois resident, I have bipartisan disgust.

There is a saying that America is governed by two parties – the evil party and the stupid party. This was always a good insider joke for political gatherings. In the Land of Lincoln, the joke has become a reality. Given the number of indictments and convictions of mistitled “public servants,” there is no doubt that the Democrats have the clear advantage in taking the gold medal in the evil contest. It is equally clear that the clueless and inept Republican leadership has secured the gold with world record breaking stupidity.
Now there are exceptions. Republican Governor/felon George Ryan is most certainly a strong contender in any evil event. After all, his corruption killed a bunch of people, including six little kids, while sparing heinous murders their call to justice. How evil is that? While Democrat Governor/soon-to-be-felon Rod Blagojevich and his team are gold medalwinners in evil, who can deny Blago an individual gold for stupidity?
Notwithstanding occasional personal exceptions, the Democrats have a lock on evil in Illinois, and the Republicans dominate stupidity. The evil of the Democrats is seen all over the judicial system. Scores of indictments and innumerable media expose over scores of years layout the intimate details of their evil. It covers every branch and level of government. The Dem leadership gives life to such sayings as … power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely … and … money is the root of all evil.
To their credit, evil makes more sense than stupidity … in fact, it trumps stupidity. That is why the Democrats hold all the major power in Illinois – and now nationally — while the doofus GOP looks like the Keystone Kops in a Mack Sennett comedy.
The elephant party can take comfort in the fact that stupidity rarely gets a person indicted. Of course, it does not get a person elected, either. GOP stupidity cleared the path for Barack Obama to travel from the obscurity of the Illinois State Senate to his historic world hero election to the presidency. The U.S. Senate campaign of millionaire Jack Ryan collapsed due to the bumbled handling of a “sex scandal” that had no sex.
But this was just the precursor of what might be considered the most incredibly stupid political tactic in American history. The Illinois GOP gave the winnable Senate nomination to a black out-of-stater on the theory that a black Republican trumps a black Democrat. Worse yet. The black right-wing, out-of-stater, Alan Keyes, was a perennial lunatic candidate who has unsuccessfully run for a number of public offices, including the presidency, to the great embarrassment of the Republican party and us normal conservatives.
Keyes is a Bible quoting, homo hating gadfly with some of the most outrageous public policy proposals conceived by man. Think of the ramifications of this stupidity. Thanks to the failure of the loco … oooops …. I mean local … GOP to stop Obama when he was merely another ambitious, but undistinguished, Illinois politician, he led the Dems to an unprecedented victory on the national scene.
Of course, the Obama juggernaut could have been stopped at the national level, but the stupid party proved its calling with the nomination of John McCain. He, in turn, ran a stupid race.
Three times Obama came to office against all odds because the GOP handed him the victory through applied stupidity. The danger for the GOP is that Obama may turn out not to be evil and not to be stupid. In which case, the Republicans will be relegated to a long era of stupidity in the kiddie pool of politics.
(Click on pics to read inscriptions.)

>REACT: Obama’s seat up for grabs.

>

There is no doubt that the stunning arrest and indictment of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has the Democrats reeling. For a moment, they almost forget who they are.

You will recall that in the moments following U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s press conference, donkey party leaders from Chicago, Springfield and the nation’s capital starting calling for a special election to avoid having the ethically compromised governor appoint the successor to the now sacrosanct Barack Obama seat in the U.S. Senate.

Weeeell … it was not long before they recovered enough to realize the shock of their own action. The leaders of the power-at-all-cost party actually proposed that the citizens of the Land of Lincoln be given a choice. This led them to further realize that the power players would lose the chance to hand pick the next senator. No guarantee the people would pick a black person. No guarantee it would be a political insider. No political benefits (and certianly no cash) for the person or persons making the appointment. Oh my God! No guarantee that the next senator would even be … A DEMOCRAT!

Well, as the aftershocks of “stupid governor-gate” diminished, and more traditional thinking was restored, the same Democrat leaders did a quick one-eighty and decided that the new senator should be appointed by the Blagojevich successor – Lt. Governor Patrick Quinn.

Since Quinn’s rise to the governorship is in the hands of the Madigan family – Michael the Impeacher (right, hugging Blago) or Lisa the Litigator (left) – it is reasonable to guess that the price of promotion may be letting the Madigans pick the senator. Maybe cash is no long the quid for the political pro quo in Illinois, but that does not mean that old fashion horse trading is dead.

The Dem new spin is that an election will be costly. True enough, but democracy in Illinois does not come cheap — whether above board or under the table. And since when has the expense of ANYTHING bothered this tax-and-steal crowd? After all, they are the biggest OPM** abusers of all time – funding their habit out of the public treasury.

I guess there is some perverse comfort in knowing that our elected leaders have returned to some semblance of normalcy. You know … if it walks like a donkey and brays like a donkey, it is still a Democrat.

** Other People’s Money

>OPINION: Conservatism never made it past the primaries.

>In the musical 1776, there is a scene in which John Adams, frustrated by seeming lack of support for his independence proposals, enters the empty assembly chamber and sings his lament with these opening lines.

Is anybody there?
Does anybody care?
Does anybody see what I see?

He then continues to sing of his vision of a free America.

Those of you who believe in the basic conservative values, and who have looked to the Republican Party to represent your cause, must share the feelings of John Adams at this moment. I sure do.

The GOP leadership abandoned our values for a cheap imitation of the Democrat big government agenda. Instead if offering an alternative to the historically oppressive and failed policies of statism, the party of Lincoln and Reagan has offered up an inferior brand. Lyndon Johnson’s butter and guns policy that ravaged our economy for a score of years was revisited with avengence in the Bush adminsitration — running the national debt through the stratosphere. The appitite of Republican legislators for earmarked pork was on par with any liberal Democrat. Under the weight of reckless greed, the economy tanked. The conservative standard bearers all fell in the primaries — essentially removing the conservative agenda from the general election. Yes! McCain was too much like a Bush third term.

In this campaign season, the Democrats offered the people a better life, and the hope of a rescue from the ravages of an economy mismanaged by the Republicans’ abandonment of conservative monetary and fiscal policies. The fact that the Democrats were only offering a stronger dose of the same toxic snake oil did not matter. I looked like change … and gave hope. They offered something. The Republicans offered nothing.

In times of fear, it is not uncommon for people to surrender freedom for a sense of security, false as it maybe. We have seen this in times of war — Lincoln suspends habeas corpus, Roosevelt inters innocent Japanese-Americans and Bush signs the falsely named Patriot Act. This is equally true in times of economic fear. Against every warning and admonition of the Founding Fathers, we entrust government to take care of us.

With the Democrats in full control of our national government, we can expect to see the creeping plague of socialism spreading further in the body politic. Even before the election, and with the compliance of thoughtless Republican leadership, we have seen the banks partially nationalized. Almost a trillion taxpayer dollars appropriated to take control of the national economic tiller from the steady hand of the free market – ergo the people – in favor of the oppressive hand of a government cabal.

In this election, the Democrats claimed the credit for rescuing the people from a burning house, never to reveal that they were the arsonists who set the blaze originally. The witless Republicans willingly provided some of the fuel in a moment of irrationality.

In listening to the excuses and rationalizations of so many GOP leaders, one has to conclude that nothing has been learned. Some see resurrection through the same failed policies of the past. Many call on the party to be even more like the Democrats, and further abandon the conservative principles. For their own self interest, they arrogantly point the finger of blame at those of us who prefer an alternative to the Democrats’ liberal tax, spend and control policies – not the poor quality imitation.

Conservatism did not fail in this election because it was never on the ballot. What failed was mock liberalism offered up by a second rate party with a philosophically corrupted leadership. The old guard has become the very old guard.

Conservatives lack an effective political vehicle to offer the alternative to liberal Democrat “big brother” government. We must either take over the Republican Party or find a new platform … a new party. One of the other – but not the divisiveness of trying to do both.

I think the party of Lincoln and Reagan is the best means for many reasons, but we cannot allow the America of John Adams to be lost by the additional incompetence of even conservative leaders and believers. If we blame the Republican leaders for discarding our conservative values and policies, and surrending the election to the Democrats, then we must look at the failure of the conservative leaders within the party to keep the GOP agenda on the right rightward course.

Newt Gingrich mobilized a nation behind a positive conservative platform in his “Contract with America.” Ronald Reagan was super salesman of conservaitve ideology. Where are those kind of leaders now? Perhaps it is good that the current GOP establishment has been decimated by the Democrat sweep. There now is a vacuum. It will be filled by either the clones of the vanquished Republican establishment, or the political descendents of John Adams and Ronald Reagan. The future of America rests in the balance.

I wonder … does any one see what I see?

>OBSERVATION: How to spell Obama? D-A-V-I-D- A-X-E-L-R-O-D

>When looking at the making of the president 2008, the most important single factor has been largely overlooked or under appreciated by the press. David Axelrod.

Sure, he has appeared on a few interview programs and taken the podium at some press conferences, but for a guy in his position, he has maintained a surprisingly low profile — at least before Election Day. That is the Axelrod style.

As political consultants in the same Chicago political arena for many years, but on opposite ends of the political spectrum, I have had modest association with him on various campaign trials. I have known him, and of him, since he was a reporter. We have been counterpoints on any number of talk shows. Can’t say I know him well personally, but I do know him professionally.

David is probably the most determined and aggressive political guru in America, but he has almost no desire to be a celebrity in his own right. He keeps his total focus on his clients, and he has impressive ones – Mayor Daley, Bill Clinton and a number of leading Democrat candidates across the country. He does not confuse celebrity with success, as many political advisors do.

I would argue against anyone who says that Barack Obama could have made it to the White House without David. Frankly, without David, I think Obama would still be a community-based activist. Don’t get me wrong. Obama is brilliant, articulate and ambitious, and he brings a lot of natural candidate talent to the table — but so do a lot of other people.

Obama is a great raw product, but with many distasteful features. David is the genius who could not only package and sell Obama by highlighting and playing on his strong points, but who to make the other products unpalatable by comparison.

I never thought Obama could make it to the White House without a major crises and an inept opponent (and he got both). He has run for office four times. With more ambition than brains, he took on Chicago Congressman Bobby Rush in a Democrat primary. He didn’t win against this seasoned and savvy opponent, but he did get noticed. Lowering his sights, Obama went for the Illinois State Senate. Rather than risk a competent opponent, Obama, with the help of the fabled Chicago Democrat machine, used aggressive technical challenges — and the cooperation of machine election officials — to remove all his opponents form the ballot — including the incumbent. He ran unopposed.

His jump to the U.S. Senate was a bold endeavor for a neophyte state legislator. Again, it was ambition over brains, but this time he got lucky. He signed up David Axelrod. Then he got even luckier. The hapless Illinois GOP first floundered with millionaire businessman Jack Ryan, a worthy opponent until it was revealed that he and his movie star wife (Jeri Ryan) had visited sex clubs in New York and Paris.

The Republicans, in an effort to advance their reputation as the stupid party, imported conservative gadfly Alan Keyes, a kooky black perennial presidential candidate. After only a couple undistinguished years in the Senate, Obama succumbed to the siren call of the presidency. Again it as a precocious move – challenging the all but certain nomination of Hillary Clinton. This time Obama was facing real competition, but he got lucky again. The Early primaries featured a bunch of moderate white candidates to divide up the vote – leaving Obama with a unified black/progressive core.

Once he secured the nomination, he was just another unelectable Democrat … unless … unless there was some seismic political event or the GOP opponent screwed up. Again, he was lucky. Instead of “or,” Obama got “and.” The economy tanked at just the right time – as the Republicans were experiencing the beginning of a post-election surge. AND … the Republicans offered up maverick John McCain, who proceeded to run one of the worse campaigns in American history.

But, what about David Axelrod?

NONE of this would have gotten Obama elected had it not been for the genius of Axelrod. Conversely, I am convinced David would have guided Clinton to the Oval Office had he accepted her invitation to be part of the Clinton team, as he was in the past.

No defection cost Clinton more than David Axelrod. David IS strategy. You hire him, you get the Axelrod method — and a winning one it is. The Clinton campaign should have made him an offer he could not refuse. The decision to let him go doomed her candidacy, as it turned out.

David never believed in the conventional political wisdom that you do not respond to negative attacks. In fact, David takes the position that no attack, no matter how seemingly insignificant, should go unchallenged. Without this aggressive and effective strategy of refutation, Obama’s candidacy would have sunk early on under the weight of mini-scandals, questionable associations, a cloudy, if not shady, past and a political philosophy far too liberal for mainstream America.

Rather than allow his past to be discovered by others, like his one time opponent, Jack Ryan, Obama laid out most of it in his books. As the political jargon goes, he “inoculated” against criticism. This is classic Axelrod.

David knew that to become the President, Obama had to look and sound presidential. Orating like Jesse Jackson was a kiss of death. Obama’s Harvard education and artidulation were natural tools. David created and controlled the visual and verbal imagery. He treated Obama like an actor, and he, David, would show him how to play the part of President of the United States. The clothes, the staging, the photos, the gestures, the oratory. All very carefully crafted and scripted.
Just as important as David’s craftsmanship was Obama’s willingness to stick to the script. He played the part to perfection. In an amazing turn-about, the first black candidate for the presidency actually looked, acted and sounded more presidential than the classic gray-haired white guy.

More than any consultant I know, David understands the issue of credibility. Having taught college-level course in credibility, and having invented a credibility management concept, I have always been in awe of David. He never took one of my courses, but he is a natural. He knows, that if you destroy an opponents credibility, there is nothing they can say or do to convince the public of anything.

If you look at the Obama campaign through the credibility lens, you can see how the campaign used every possible technique to strip first Hillary Clinton, then McCain, and finally the whole Republican Party, or their credibility. Every time McCain changed his mind, or said something that seemed at odds with an earlier statement, the Obama campaign trumpeted it. These “inconsistencies” were then elevated to lies. McCain lies. Palin lies. Bush lies. Lies. Lies. Lies. Republican = lies.

The success of this strategy was even more impressive since McCain came into this campaign aboard the “straight talk express.” HE was the straight talker. HE was the man good as his word. HE was the tell-it-like-it-is guy. Thanks to Axelrod, the straight talk express got derailed, and McCain limped into town with the reputation of a snake oil salesman — or more specifically, the third term of the unpopular George Bush. With the very credibility of the Repbulican brand damaged, Obama’s every word became gospel and McCain could say nothing believeable to the electorate.

David also has a great talent for generating discipline. Rarely will one see a campaign were the entire team worked so well together. Through his own example, David was able to get the team to set aside the usual political differences and prima donna attitudes and focus on two things — candidate and message.

Wherever Axelrod lands in the coming months – White House aide, outside consultant – he will play a major role in guiding the entire Democrat ship as its guru-in-chief. He will be the strategy connection between his President, the Democrat National Committee, and the Senate and house campaign committees. He will be issuing the guidelines to the state parties and candidates. David could well be the most powerful political figure in America next to President Obama. He is the personification of the Chicago machine coming to Washington. He is Karl Rove on steroids.

Just you watch.

>REACT: Rahm Emanuel — Beware of dog.

>Like all presidential candidates, President-elect Barack Obama promised to reach out to the opposition as a bipartisan leader. Well … his first appointment undermines any hope of that being the case. In picking Rahm Emanuel as his chief-of-staff, Obama has given the second most powerful post in Washington to a strident, brittle take-no-prisoners partisan Democrat. In canine terms, Emanuel has been described as a junk yard dog and a pit bull on steroids. The “yellow dog” Republicans and the “blue dog” Democrats will find themselves facing a fang-bearing “mad dog.” With David Axelrod already in the inner inner circle, the appointment of Emanuel will assure America an adminsitration run right out of the hard line Chicago machine play book. (See blog: The Chicago-izing of America).

Some good news … maybe? The same dogged deterimnation that will give the GOP fits in Washington, will also be felt by world leaders — which could benefit the United States on the international stage.

More good news? For those who feared (me included) that an Obama administration would tilt more toward the Arab positions in the Middle East, take heart. With a Jewish chief-of-staff (especially this one), and possibly Penny Pritzker in the Cabinet, Obama will have the interests of Israel well represented.