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Archive for October, 2011

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Business Rountable CEO Jim McNerney asserts that what business really needs from Washington is stability.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203554104577003933737463986.html
The President’s recent new-policy-of-the-weeek strategy indicates he doesn’t agree. Given that the President’s next job in private business will be his first, he might want to consider listening to more experienced hands.

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The Obama bus tour rolls on today. A cursory look at the places where Mr. Obama is stopping gives an idea of the state of his campaign. Asheville and Guilford County, NC; and Emporia and Hampton, VA. All Democratic areas in Republican states. The President is trying to make it look like he’s playing offense by going to battleground states, but he’s going to relatively liberal enclaves within those states. Guilford County is probably the most conservative place, having given George W. Bush about 50% of the vote in 2000, but it has trended left since then. The other places are reliably Democrat. This tour is more about rallying base voters than about reaching out to new ones. In 2008, candidate Obama went to more places that weren’t traditionally Democrat; with difficult times continuing nearly three years after his inauguration, it’s a different environment now. Observers are likely to wonder whether this tour is e President is about playing offense and trying to get his bill passed, or really playing defense and blame shifting for the desperate economy.

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The recent arrest of a man in Texas on charges of conspiring with Iranian intelligence to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S. is mildly surprising in that if true it’s a bold, if ill-advised, plot. But it should not surprise anyone that the ambassador would be a target. Americans are often fixated on our own international rivalries. We generally think about the Iranians vis-a-vis us. The Iranians, however, view their main regional rivalry as Saudi Arabia and vice versa. The Persians and Arabs are the main two peoples of the Gulf region. Iran is the sole state of the Persian people, while Saudi Arabia is the main Arab state in the region. (It’s a sign of American myopia that we refer to the Saudi Arabians as “Saudis”. They’re Arabs or Arabian in their own eyes. Saudi refers to their ruling dynasty, the House of Saud. Don’t mistake the rulers for the people.). The two great Gulf powers look across the water and see their real opposition.

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Oh Iowa

The Iowa Republican Party has decided to hold its caucus on January 3rd. In other words, Iowa’s party of family values has essentially told all campaign workers that they’re going to have to work through Christmas, rather than taking a couple of days to spend with their families. That’s tone deaf people.

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On Solyndra

A lot of talk lately on Solyndra, the solar goods firm that received hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government and went belly up eighteen months later. Two quick thoughts: First, Solyndra spends money at an astounding rate. It asked the bankruptcy judge to approve legal costs of $850/hour for former Massachusetts governor and U.S. Attorney William Weld to be their attorney. $850 dollars an hour – when they’re already broke – and we wonder how they wound up in bankruptcy. (Interesting, they chose a former prosecutor instead of a bankruptcy attorney. Maybe they see where this is headed) This calls into mind the judgment of the Obama administration, but we politicians and commentators need to be careful before they automatically call it a ‘scandal’. So far, it appears to be poor economic judgment, but not necessarily anything illegal or unethical on the Administration’s part (we’ll see about Solyndra’s part). Republicans are natually going to want to get to the bottom of it, but should keep their powder dry until they have the facts. Sometimes (some would argue more than sometimes) government officials simply make bad decisions that are the result of a competence problem not a character problem. Let’s get the facts first, before forming a conclusion. Two often in politics, the conclusion comes first.

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Any visitors to this site will discern sooner or later that the author is somewhat right-of-center. But it’s important to point that this blog is not going to simply cry “you missed a spot” at whatever the Administration does. I am disappointed at the conduct of some of those on the right who appear more interested in acquiring more power than in responsibly using the power they have already been entrusted with. I had similar disappointment with those on the left during the Bush II Administration. I’m not simply here to throw darts. I’ll suggest things from time to time, but often, I’ll simply throw out questions designed to help readers, right or left, to think for themselves. I hope people find it of some value. If you come upon this, and you’re left-of-center, I hope you’ll still decide to visit again. It’s my intention that this blog respects the views of all.

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Christie Out

Well, looks like Chris Christie isn’t running for President. So the sniping at him from the left can end. Richard Cohen, whose columns at the Washington Post I often enjoy, had commented in the Washington Post that Christie lacked the emotional self-control needed to be President. He said he bullied people and that’s not what Washington needed. Cohen needn’t have worried becuase Christie’s fire likely would have been directed at his own party, ‘bullying’ them into forging pragmatic, politically possible solutions to serious problems. His tenure as U.S. Attorney showed he was even-handed and the beginning of his governorship has shown a realistic attempt to deal with his state’s long-running budget problems.

At least Cohen had a concern that was reasonable on the surface, unlike Michael Kinsley. Kinsley thought Christie was too fat to be President. Seriously. Kinsley’s article was further evidence certain kinds of bigotry are okay in the liberal worldview world – Catholics (at least those that follow church teaching), evangelicals, smokers and fat guys need not apply.

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