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Freshmen Republicans to Watch in the 112th Congress

Bookmark and Share    The freshman class of Republicans in the 112th Congress is one that could and should hold a lot of sway. Not only is it one of the largest classes, it was also elected on one of the clearest messages that voters ever sent. That message is to stop business as usual and to cut spending and the size and scope of government. This freshman class was elected to change Washington, D.C., not be changed by Washington, D.C., and for many voters this is the Republican Party’s last chance to get things right. And so, given the sentiments that swept these new lawmakers in to office, they must establish themselves by bucking both Party politics and the political establishment. They must demonstrate that they understand fiscal responsibility, limited government, states rights and a willingness to not tow the Party line when its leaders wander off path.

This will at times be hard to do. The old boy’s political network will tempt them to go along to get along and the desire for power can consume them if they forget what they were sent to Washington for. But considering the extremely strong message that sent these men and women to D.C. they will all be wise to not cave in to the traditional trappings of insider politics and Washington.

Given the caliber of many of the new faces on the Hill, there is a vary good chance that they will in fact have a dramatic, positive, impact on the 112th Congress and the legislation it produces. But of this class, I suspect that some will stand out more than others. The following are the names that are most likely to do so.

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  Justin Amash, MI-3:

This 30 year old Michigander has made a name for himself in the Michigan House of Representatives as a leading advocate for government restraint and his consistent commitment to limited government, free markets, and individual liberty. As a state representative, Amash set new standards for transparency and accountability. And was one of the first state legislators to list his office expenses, staff salaries, and legislative benefits online. He has also earned a wide following among Michigan voters for posting all of his votes, with explanations and an opportunity for interactive discussion, on his official face book page. Amash understands that we live under the rule of law and not under the rule of men and he has a command of the issues effecting our economy and liberty.

Lou Barletta, PA-11:

Lou Barletta comes to office after serving as Mayor of Hazleton, PA. There he demonstrated his expertise on economic matters and budgets but he became most known for his fight against illegal immigration. Hazleton had become ravaged by an illegal immigrant population that helped the small town’s crime rate skyrocket. Barletta went into action. In 2006, he created an ordinance that made it illegal for employers to knowingly hire illegal aliens and for landlords to knowingly rent to illegal aliens. The measure passed the Hazleton City Council but was subsequently challenged in the courts. The case still drags on to this day but in the meantime, the number of both violent and non-violent crimes in the City of Hazleton continue to decrease. Barletta is a hard nosed but cordial gentleman who is sure to take the same kind of grit and determination that he had as Mayor of Hazleton, to Washington as a Congressman.

Cory Gardner, CO-4:

Gardner is a quick witted, high energy legislator. The Denver Post calls Gardner “the GOP Idea Man,” and he has been recognized as one of the Top 40 young Republican lawmakers in the country by Rising Tide, a publication of the Republican National Committee. As a member of the Colorado State House of Representatives, Gardner was a leader on issues such as economic development, healthcare, and education. In 2007, he created the Colorado Clean Energy Authority, which has helped to bring millions of dollars in development to Colorado. With a focus on limited government, Cory Gardner believes strongly that reducing taxes is the best way to grow the economy and provide jobs. As a former leading conservative voice in the Colorado state legislature, he promises to be one in the 112th session of Congress too.

Adam Kinzinger, Il-11:

32 year old Adam Kinzinger is a Captain in the Air Force who has served in the Special Ops, Air Combat Command, Air Mobility Command, and the Air National Guard. Before his military career, at the age of 20, he challenged a twelve-year Democrat incumbent for the McLean County Board and in a campaign that focused on bringing local government back to the people, he became one of the youngest county board members in McLean County history. Today, Kinzinger has proved that he understands the value of American freedom and is committed to protecting and serving the nation both in uniform and elected office. He has the skills and drive to rise above the political noise, bring government back to the people and to create a lasting positive impact on Congress.

Allen West, Florida-22:

Lieutenant Colonel Allen West (US Army, Retired) is a Bronze Star winner who has also been awarded three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals (one with Valor), and a Valorous Unit Award. With twenty years of distinguished military service, West now aims his fight on Congress where he intends to curb out of control Government spending, work for across the board tax cuts, and combat our economic woes by getting back to basics and transitioning to a flat tax system for both individuals and businesses. West is an aggressive and articulate voice for conservatism and has a deep rooted concern for the proper education of America children. Allen West knows that their opportunities can be endless with the right education and that our nation’s future depends on their ability to take advantage of those opportunities. Allen West is sure to be a thorn in the side of liberals and you can be sure that he will not sugarcoat his opposition to the left side of the aisle.

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Those are five freshmen members of the House whom you can expect to stir things up. They will be joined by several veteran G.O.P. House members who are also worth watching; incoming House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, New Jersey’s Scott Garrett, Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, Mike Pence of Indiana and Virginia’s Eric Cantor. These five individuals are probably the best chance Republicans have when it comes to keeping to the much touted, conservative pledge to America that Republicans took during the campaign of 2010. But now these five have five exceptional new voices on their side.

In the Senate, things are quite different than in the House. The rules of the Senate allow for one member of that chamber to make more of an immediate difference than House members can. Here, although Republicans remain in the minority, their increased numbers will be made quite formidable as strong conservative voices like Jim DeMint and John Thune join with the following five freshmen senators.

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Marco Rubio-FL:

 Marco is a standout among any group of people. He is a personable, bright, innovative, energetic, passionate and articulate young conservative who went through one of the toughest and longest campaigns of 2010. For much of the race he was the underdog and not the establishment choice. But patience and perseverance allowed him to prevail as he convincingly persuaded fellow Floridians to the commonsense, conservative cause. A son of Cuban exiles, Marco is an important voice in the Republican Party for Hispanic voters and his ability to attract voters of all persuasions is going to continue to make him an important player in national politics, especially national Republican politics.

Pat Toomey-PA:

This former leader of the Club for Growth is probably going to be one of the most ardent deficit hawks the senate has ever seen. He will be a perfect partner with South Carolina’s Jim DeMint in the cause of fiscal responsibility and limited government. Toomey will most definitely be a strict constitutionalist who will have no problem standing up to his fellow Republicans and most definitely not any Democrat, including President Obama.

 

Ron Johnson-WI:

Johnson was one of those TEA Party backed candidates who came out of nowhere to slay a liberal giant—Russ Feingold. His campaign was not the best but voter sentiment in Wisconsin was so soured by the direction that the country was going in that they wanted a definite change. Politically unencumbered, fresh faced, conservative, businessman Ron Johnson proved to be the man that Wisconsin voters saw fit to deliver that change. Expect Johnson to take some time getting his feet wet in Washington, but very soon he will be demonstrating a hard-line on budgetary matters and a very valuable independent streak.

Rand Paul-KY:

Rand Paul is another candidate whose race was particularly hard fought. He was also not originally the establishment choice but strong conservative support and energetic TEA Party backing pushed Rand Paul over the top in the end. Rand has many of the more appealing libertarian tendencies of his well known father, Texas Congressman Ron Paul but is a bit more pragmatic. Rand believes in a strong national defense and understand that the defense of the nation is the federal government’s number 1 priority. He insists that funding of the United Nations becomes voluntary, thereby demonstrating a true and accurate level of commitment of individual member states to the U.N.’s success. He also believes that the United States should withdraw from and stop funding those U.N. programs that undermine legitimate American interests. On the economy, Paul is a true free marketer who views the World Bank and International Monetary Fund as having “outlived their usefulness” and harmful to global economic development. Rand Paul is a staunch proponent of spending cuts, balancing the budget, and lowering taxes. Expect Rand to be a very loud voice and major critic of both Parties and the process they often abuse.

Rob Portman-OH:

Like Marco Rubio, Rob Portman is made of presidential timber. He is an experienced legislator and previously served in two separate presidential cabinet offices—–U.S. Trade Representative and Director of the Office of Management and Budget. During his tenure at OMB, the deficit was cut in half. Portman is experienced, accomplished, and when it comes to the federal budget, he is a persistent hawk who has proposed balanced budgets, the creation of new federal spending transparency laws, and fought hard against irresponsible earmarks. In the senate, expect Rob Portman to be a go-to guy on fiscal matters and a leader in the budget process that is growing in importance as well as debt.

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Only time will truly tell how well these 10 incoming legislators will really do but if they show the same kind of stamina, values and sincerity that they have in the past, they will go a long way in bringing the type of real change that Congress and the nation needs.

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Democrat Controlled Board of Elections Sticks it to “Whitey”?

Picture of Rich Whitney, Green Party candidate...
Illinois Green Party Candidate for Governor Rich Whitney, aka: Rich Whitey
Bookmark and Share    File this under “Screwed”

In Illinois, Rich Whitney is running for Governor as the Green Party candidate.

Now by any standard, running only on the Green Party line makes getting elected hard enough….no offense…..but it’s true. There ain’t a whole hell of a lot elected Green Party members holding office.

But thanks to the Illinois Board of Elections, underdog Whitney’s uphill battle has been twice as tough.

An error, or at least what officials are calling an error, has placed the name Rich Whitey on the electronic voting machines of 23 wards. To make matters worse, most of these 23 wards are predominantly African-American districts.

Officials say that there is no way to fix the error but now claim that 90% of the voters effected by this error will receive paper ballots with Rich Whitney’s name spelled correctly.

Human error is most likely the culprit here. Stupidity does run rampant among government agencies packed with politically appointed patronage positions. But it is really ironic that this particular mistake occurred in a very tight race for Governor, where a few hundred votes could easily make the difference . And having the Green Party candidate, a candidate that could attract liberal votes away from the Democrats line, described as a “Rich Whitey”, sure helps to insure that some black voters avoid voting for the Green Party and cast their ballot for the Democrat candidate.

No matter what though, the Democrat Board of Election of Illinois sure as hell stuck it to “Whitey” …err…Whitney.

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NEW MEXICO GOV BILL RICHARDSON WITHDRAWS FROM OBAMA CABINET

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GRAND JURY INVESTIGATES NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR BILL RICHARDSON AND ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS

Amid a grand jury investigation into whether he exchanged government contracts for contributions to his failed presidential bid last year, former Clinton cabinet member and incumbent New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson withdrew his nomination for Commerce Secretary in the quickly arranged potential presidential cabinet of President-Elect Barack Obama.

This development helps to maintain the string of Democrat corruption scandals that began with the resignation of New York Democrat Governor Elliot Spitzer early in 2008 and the Senate seat selling scandal of Illinois Democrat Governor Rod Blagojevich at the end of 20o8.

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JOHN 'Women Are My Vice" EDWARDS

The year was not a good one for politicians.  Along with Democrat gubernatorial problems, the Democrat field of Presidential candidates saw its own share of trouble.  Although Joe Biden’s short lived run for the democrat presidential nomination did not see him involved in another plaguerism scandal, the party’s former Vice Presidential nominee was caught with his pants down. 

John Edwards was found to have been having an affair with a hired consultant that his presidential campaign committee paid tens of thousands of dollars to.  All of which occurred while Edwards’  wife began a life threating battle with cancer and continue to stand by her husbands side on the campaign trail.

This latest development just reinforces doubts about politicians and it also creates some doubt about the incoming Obama administration.

Many Obama supporters criticized Senator John McCain and said that picking Sarah Palin was bad judgment and that his campaign did not properly vet her.

That criticism begs to question the judgement and vetting process of the Obama administration.

Did they not look into Governor Richardson before selecting him to be Commerce Secretary?

Maybe they did.  Maybe they felt that anyone who could utilize government for personal profit as well as Richardson may have, would be perfect for a position such as commerce.

Yes siree, change is on the way.  What kind of change we have yet to see.

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THE TOP 10 POLITICAL HAPPENINGS OF 2008

With the new year here, we have the opportunity to reflect on the year gone by and to thank the passage of time for resolving some situations. While some happenings in 2008 came and went, other events of 2008 still require time, time that will absorb much of 2009 and even beyond.

So today, before we forge ahead with the rest of this new year, we reflect on the events that shaped politics and the politics that shaped events, by presenting to you the 10 most significant political stories of the year that helped to get us where we are today.

TONY SNOW

TONY SNOW

10. – THE DEATHS OF TIM RUSSERT and TONY SNOW

TIM RUSSERT

TIM RUSSERT

Both of these men loved politics. For a time they were both involved in politics on different sides of the aisle and at a different times they covered politics. Tony Snow started in print and broadcast journalism delivering political news and commentary and ended his career in politics as the Press Secretary for President Bush. Tim Russert began in politics working for a political legend, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York and ended covering politics on NBC. As host of Meet The Press, Tim became a part of every American household and despite his personal left leaning tendencies Tim Russert was respected for probing questions that were leveled at liberals and conservatives alike. Tony Snow was also a partisan. For decades he was a favorite in conservative circles, yet when delivering a news story people of every party carefully listened to the insightful delivery of facts that he presented. His last major endeavor was one that helped provide the White House with the ability to properly convey the right messages. Tony served as Press Secretary for 17 months. Probably the most understandable 17 months of the Presidents two terms in office. Tim Russert died after suffering a massive heart attack on Jun 13th at the age of 58 and Tony Snow died after battling colon cancer on July 12th at the age of 53. In life they shaped politics and political opinion. In death, they left us a legacy of lessons and examples to follow.

9 . – IS  THAT CAMPAIGN MONEY IN YOUR POCKET OR ARE YOU JUST GLAD TO SEE ME

FORMER NY GOVERNOR ELLIOT SPITZER

FORMER NY GOVERNOR ELLIOT SPITZER

The Empire State helped to set a tone for 2008 when early in the year, New York’s Governor, Elliot Spitzer got caught up in scandal. After serving only 14 months in office the rising Democrat star found himself standing next to his wife announcing his resignation. Suspicious transfers of money in and out of Spitzer’s bank account led federal investigators to believe that he might be taking bribes. However their probe discovered that for over several years Spitzer wasn’t taking bribes, he was paying out at least $80,000 for prostitutes. The period covered his tenure as New York’s Attorney General as well as his brief time as Governor. The happiest people of all in this episode were David Paterson and New Jersey. As Spitzer’s Lieutenant Governor, Paterson, became New York’s first African American Governor, and the nation’s first legally blind one. New Jersey was just happy to know that they were no longer the only state in the region to lose a governor because of sexual scandals and illegal conduct.

8. – WEEKEND AT KIM’S

NOT WANTED but is he dead or alive?

NOT WANTED but is he dead or alive?

Around August rumors began to circulate that North Korea’s obscure and, to put it kindly, eccentric leader, Kim Jong-Il, was dead. Since then no reputable sources have either seen him or heard from him. Not that that is unusual, few people have ever heard or seen Kim Jong-Il, but what is unusual are recent decisions that Kim Jong-Il supposedly made to eliminate efforts to develop nuclear power. Did Kim make that decision? Is North Korea really abandoning nuclear ambitions? Or is North Korea propping up Kim Jong-Il, like a bad, out of sync, Korean version of “Weekend At Bernie’s” while a different, unknown, brain dead ruler is pulling the strings and, at the same time, trying to pull the wool over our eyes? All jokes aside, the sensitivity of the situation is a dire one. Chaos on the Korean Peninsula could create a ripple effect that no one can afford. Dramatic events could alter sensitive relations with South Korea and negotiations with the United States. All of which could result in tensions throughout the world including those involving hard feelings between North Korea and Japan. And let us not forget North Korea’s greatest ally, China. With their booming economy, the Chinese are ambitious. Knowing who is in charge of things could be helpful in 2009.

7. – BID WELL FIDEL?

BID WELL TO FIDEL?

BID WELL TO FIDEL?

In 1959 Cuba took on the face of Fidel Castro. Just 90 miles off of our shores, Cuban communism and Castro were too close for comfort. As much as we didn’t like it, invasions, coups and even assassination attempts did not eliminate Castro’s hold on power. However, time did reduce Castro’s influence. As time changed most of the world, Castro and Cuba didn’t but the logistics which helped to make him a thorn in our side did change. The, once feared communist Soviet-Cuban relationship lost it’s potency as the Soviet Union lost it’s hammer and sickle. As time went by, our concerns with Cuba focused more on human rights for Cubans than defense from Cuba. So it was still welcome news when, in February, we discovered that an ailing Fidel Castro was resigning from office. Not that it mattered much. Before stepping down, Fidel told the Cuban Communist Party that they were too elect his brother Raul to be the new Commander in Chief. The event did not change things very much but after almost 50 years in power, and events such as the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Elian Gonzales and other disconcerting situations, as minor as the effects of this change may be, Fidel’s painstakingly slow departure from the world stage is welcomed and ranks as the seventh most dramatic political occurrence of 2008.

6. – THE GEOGIAN-RUSSIAN WARant1georgis1a2

It was not a battle that reshaped Europe again but the surprising developments that caused the Russian Army to invade a neighboring, breakaway Republic with internationally recognized sovereignty, gave us all a glimpse of reality. It may not be the Soviet Union anymore but a bear by any other name is still a bear and the vulnerabilities of newly formed and reformed European nations and those with relatively new freedoms still offer some new Russian leaders the same old reasons for wanting control. The incident helped to demonstrate that freedom in parts of Europe is still a fragile concept.

ROD "How much do 'ya want" BLAGOJEVICH

ROD "How much do 'ya want" BLAGOJEVICH

5. – THE EBAY APPOINTMENT

2008 ended with a story that will carry well into the first months of 2009. As President-Elect Obama vacated his seat in the U.S. Senate, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich began a private auction process to determine who will fill the vacancy. As investigators, under the direction of federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, investigated Blagojevich for numerous improprieties, they discovered that he was basing his appointment to the senate seat on who could give him the most for it. Blago wanted either a “cushy union” job, a high paying cabinet position or at the very least an enormous financial campaign contribution. After being arrested the Illinois state legislature began impeachment proceedings against Blagojevich and he began digging in his heals refusing to resign. The events have the potential for drawing in some big name co-conspirators and participants. From Rep. Jesse Jackson, jr. to President -Elect Obama’s incoming Chief of Staff, Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuelle, many reputations may yet be questioned in this scandal. And to make things even more interesting, Blagojevich took the opportunity to raise the stakes and named Roland Burris, a long time, old line, liberal Chicago Democrat party machine hack to replace Barack Obama. Not at all concerned with peoples faith in government, or the integrity of the process, Burriss accepted the tainted appointment and in doing so, puts the United States and it’s Democrat leader, Harry Reid in the position of denying to seat someone that would be the only African American in the United States Senate. So coming in as the fifth top political occurrence in 2008 is the story that will keep on bleeding and keep us reading…..the process to replace a Barack Obama in the senate. 

4. – BRINGING OUTSIDERS IN

GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN

GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN

One of the most important political decisions made in 2008 was John McCain’s selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for Vice President on the Republican ticket. It was a controversial choice for some and one of the only right decisions made in the opinions of others. No matter how you see it, it remains one of the most spoken about political stories of the year. Beyond the newsworthiness are the implications. For many it was a sign of the fact that government needs thinking that is as far removed from the Washington D.C. mentality as Alaska is from Washington D.C itself. Many Americans are tired of Washington politics and want common sense as opposed to the one hand washes the other, old boys bureaucracy that we perceive as screwing us more than helping us. Sarah Palin embodied, and still does embody, that thinking. She is a political outsider who became a Governor by opposing the political class while representing the working class. Without abandoning conservative Republican principles, Sarah Palin fought against corrupt Republican and liberal politicians. Although picking Sarah Palin for Vice President may have been the right decision for John McCain, trying to restrict and control her wasn’t. By trying to script Sarah Palin, the McCain campaign lost out on the greatest advantageous quality Palin brought to the ticket…….her anti-establishment, outsider qualities. As McCain lost the election for President, Sarh Palin won exposure. Exposure that has made her a person who conservatives look forward to advancing the cause and for Americans to have to consider for national leadership in the future. So at number four in 2008 is the selection of Sarah Palin for Vice President. Thank you senator McCain!

ant1oil23. – “OILS WELL” IN THE ECONOMY?

The price of oil ranks third on our list of top stories. As prices for a barrel of oil soared to heights in excess of 150 dollars a barrel , gas prices flew up to over 4 dollars a gallon and the ripple effects raise the cost of everything from milk, eggs and bread to lumber, air fares, and life in general. The high cost of energy generated heated debates over domestic oil drilling, and pushed issues like immigration and terrorism off of the front burners in the race for President. Based upon the duration of the immediate negative effects of the price of oil combined with its ripple effects on the economy, its control of the political agenda and the long term policy initiatives that it created, oil prices is number 3 in ‘08. It is also likely to become a top story again, at least around August of ‘09, when the now delightfully low prices we see rise back up. 

2. – THE ELECTION OF BARACK OBAMA 

PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA

PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA

Putting all political opinion aside. Barack Obama ran a long hard campaign, that Republican strategists are dissecting in order to reproduce in elections of their own. The Obama campaign not only effectively tapped into voter dissatisfaction they organized it and organized it well. Their utilization of the internet was exemplary and their ability win favor through eloquence and style over substance and fact was political perfection. Despite some pitfalls such as Bill Ayers, ACORN, Rev. Wright, admitting a desire akin to socialism by stating that he wanted to spread the wealth , Barack Obama won big. To do so his campaign raised historic amounts of money and more than just raising that money, they spent it right and put it to good use. A use that mobilized the forces well enough to produce his substantial victory. The election of President-Elect Barack Obama comes in second on out not only because of how he won but because he did win. His victory marked the election of America’s first African American President. Like ant other first, it is notable and in this case it is profoundly notable. It demonstrates an undeniable ability for our nation to overcome racial differences and the evidence of decency overcoming prejudice is promising. The effects of President-Elect Obama’s leadership are yet to be seen but the lessons learned and points made by his election are unquestionable.

ant1bailout21 . – BAIL OUT MANIA

POLITICS 24/7 considers the 700 billion dollar bailout that the federal government approved to be the most profound and important story of 2009. Not only was the suggested need for this bailout indicative of our wrong ways of the past, it signaled a continuation of wrong ways in the future. Our promotion of spending as the answer to all of our problems has created generations ands a government that spend beyond our means. The 700 billion dollar bailout meant to solve our problems didn’t solve our anything, it just provided a quick fix. It did however, create more problems. It has called upon more people and more industries to put their own hands out. The bailout set in motion a sense of government control that has taken freedom, with all of it’s risks and promises, out of the free market and it has helped to move America closer to the socialism that we have fought against in the past. Many major events come and go in politics. What we once saw as earth shattering developments often become something that we later laugh about but we fear that bailout trend established in 2008 is no laughing matter for any time.

2008 was an intense year. There were many events and some of the most dramatic ones did not involve politics. Human nature played a role in all of them though and hopefully our better instincts will drive the events and politics of 2009.

With that in mind we wish everyone a happy new year and hope that our better instincts help to make each and every day better than the last.

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EBAY NOTICE: BIDDING FOR THIS SENATE SEAT HAS ENDED BY SELLER

I wish 2008 could end on a good note in politics and on political issues. As it currently stands the only god news that seems to exist is that the price of oil and gas is at one of the lowest prices in recent years. Seeing as how that oil fuels our economy and controls the cost of almost everything else, that is quite important. However, the low prices, like good news, are also going to be short lived.

With war breaking out between Palestinians and Israelis, warnings of the collapse of the auto industry, and the promise to of more and more federal bailouts arrived at by the borrowing of more and more money, most of the news is bleak. But it is recent events in Illinois that monopolize the current events which closes 2008 and it does so on an unfortunately pessimistic note.

ILLINOIS GOVERNOR ROD BLAGOJEVICH

ILLINOIS GOVERNOR ROD BLAGOJEVICH

The gall of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has reached a deafening crescendo.

Accepting for a moment the undeniable innocence before guilt precedence, it still takes an incredible amount of gall to try to appoint someone to a United States Senate seat while federal prosecutors are building a case and the state legislature is holding impeachments hearing against you for trying to sell the very same seat your are filling. You would think that given the circumstances, Blogojevich might just be concerned with peoples faith in government. You would think that maybe, just maybe Blago could understand that the atmosphere surrounding him holds so much doubt about the ability of his selcetion and the reasons behind his selection to fill President-Elect Obama’s vacated senate seat, are so questionable that he should hold off.

Instead, Blogaojevich tries to convince people that he is the only one truly concerned with the business of the people. Only he wants the business of government to go on , unhindered by politics and uninterrupted by unimportant distractions.

In trying to name a replacement for Obama in the U.S. Senate under the existing circumstances, Blagojevich is promulgating a perception into 2009 that is regretful.

He is picking up the final straw that will break the camels back and really help Americans to move closer to believing that our elected officials are worthless.

That is a shame because I do know that there are many truly sincere individuals serving in elected office. I know that there are many men and women who could be making substantially more money in the private sector than in the public sector but forgo that money for service.

I also know that many of those elected officials really work hard and give much more than they get. A sincere politicians, puts people before profit. They sacrifice time with friends and family and they listen to the problems of thousands of people each week or month while their own struggles are put on hold.

Believe it or not a sincere politician does work quite hard. If they want to continue in their job, they are doing a lot more than sitting on Capitol Hill and delivering a speech. A good politician is attending the events in their districts that their constituents are attending. The special events, the monthly meetings, whatever it is, they are there. And believe me, there is a lot of happenings that they must be a part of. Happenings that are not arranged around their schedules. Which means their own  family barbecue,  child’s after school event or even the moment they may want to simply gather their own thoughts are all secondary to that of the needs of their constituents.

Those people are serving because they want to make a difference. They want to make life better for us through a government that is suppose to serve us. They are the people who do not grab the headlines due to the “if it bleeds, it reads” thinking of the media. They’re just doing their jobs, so it does not really create any interest.

But the Blagojeviches of the world do grab the headlines.

Those who are doing their jobs wrong and those using their jobs for wrongdoing get our attention, at least when they are caught.

Unfortunately, there are many who are involved in wrongdoing and we hear about them all the time. The constant flow of stories involving, elected officials engaging in corrupt activity helps to cement the perception that government and government officials are corrupt.

In New Jersey, Governor Jim McGreevey took the damaging tradition of political patronage to an all time height of disgust when he put the care of Homeland Security for New Jersey up to a lover who he was having a clandestine affair with. The rationale for giving his lover the job was based on the fact that McGreevey liked the sexual positions that they shared together, not that his lover was qualified for the position of Homeland Security. There were also some shady financial arrangements that the Governor was involved in. The investigation of those financial activities discovered the affair and the reasons behind the appointment of an unqualified person to an important job involving the safety and security of New Jerseyans.

To take attention off of the actual wrongdoing and criminal activities, McGreevey came out and announced that he would resign because he was a “gay American”. The tactic worked. A shocked nation, talked more about McGreevey being gay than they did about the criminal conduct which forced him out of out office.

Not only did McGreevey’s political insincerity help to promote negative opinions about public servants, his resignation did too.  His resignation actually tried to exploit homosexuality.  He used it to try to play victim rather victimizer.

Caught, instead of making a sincere apology for his financial shenanigans and risking the lives of New Jersey residents by using patronage to fill the Homeland Security position with an unqualified director, McGreevey used homosexuality to take the sting out of it all. Some even called McGreevey brave and courageous. The man was cheating on his wife, cheating tax payers, jeopardizing lives and covering it all up, yet he was brave and courageous!?

The whole incident was an example of what Americans have come to believe about politicians……they’re in it for themselves and to save their own skin. McGreevey’s resignation and apology helped further advance that impression.

Not to be outdone, New York tried to keep up with Joneses. Their former Attorney General, Elliot Spitzer became Governor and about 14 months into his first term as the Governor, it was discovered that he spent over $80,000.00 on high priced call girls that he was illegally soliciting.

From former Congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana and former President William Jefferson Clinton, Americans have heard and continue hearing about more and more political corruption each day.

William Jefferson was found with hundreds of thousands of dollars in his freezer that he wrongfully obtained and claimed he did nothing wrong. President Bill Clinton lied before a grand jury and came before the American and swore that he didn’twhen in fact, he did.   He even claimed that your interpretation of whether he lied or not came down to how you define the word “is”.

U.S. SENATE DESIGNATE ROLAND BURRISS

U.S. SENATE DESIGNATE ROLAND BURRISS

The constant chorus of corruption that gains our attention has been depressing and discouraging and it has simply been accentuated but Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. His naming Roland Burris to fill the U.S. Senate seat that he is accused of trying to sell only adds an exclamation mark to the existing  perception of rampant public corruption. Just having the nerve to move ahead with the appointment is a slap in our face. It does not even begin to deal with Burriss’ qualifications or issues positions.

Roland Burrss is an old line, liberal Democrat party machine hack. By accepting Rod Blagojevich’s tainted, highly questionable appointment to the U.S. Senate, Burris is also showing us that he lacks any of the basic good judgment that a representative leader should have. His acceptance of such a tainted nominarion from such a tainted Governor demonstrates that Burriss is more interested in elevating himself than he is in elevating the quality of life of the people he would represent.

It is heartening to know that there are measures which can still rectify any wrongdoing in this case. Ultimately, a clause in the U.S. constitution allows the Congress final say in seating members.

But their too politics has been corrupted. In the 70’s a Democrat led U.S. Senate denied seating a Republican who won election in New Hampshire.

In the 80’s the Democrat led House of Representatives refused to seat a Republican who won election to congress from Indiana.

In both cases, the elections were close, the state’s Secretary’s of State certified the elections, but politics and personal power prevailed. Democrats trumped democracy and appointed their partisan preferences over the will of the people.

So with 2009 ahead of us we are looking towards a year with a new President who has promised change but based on how 2008 ended, can we believe in that change? Can we believe in anything that comes out of any government anymore.

Here in New Jersey, I hold out hope.

Here in New Jersey Republicans have been offering reforms that take steps to open up the process of government and allow concerned citizens to see facts.

State Senator Joe Pennachio recently presented a bill that would put the states budget, in all of its detail, on the internet for the public to see.

State Senator Jennifer Beck has presented bills to reform ethics and other measures that would eliminate some of the benefits that corrupt New Jersey politicians could enjoy even after found guilty of their dastardly deeds.

Of course politics being politics, Democrats in control of the process oppose these measures but thankfully there is an election in 2009. An election in New Jersey that can offer us the opportunity to help change the negative perceptions of public service and to eliminate corruption from government.

By electing reformers and rejecting those who are roadblocks to reform, we may begin to eliminate the corruption that has led us to lose faith in government. Maybe. That is up to us, the voters. So although corruption surrounding the replacement of a senator for the vacancy left by our incoming President grabs the headline as 2008 ends, the elections of 2009 hold out hope for bringing about the the type of change that we really need.

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