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Race To Replace President Obama Is Already Shaping Up With Tim Pawlenty

Bookmark and Share    Freedom First.

It is a true rally cry for America, especially these days. But for one man those two words are the sparks for a fire in his belly that he hopes fuels a drive to make him President.

Freedom First is Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s newly organized Political Action Committee and in this case, it is quite obvious what the intended political actions of this committee are for. Given the people Governor Pawlenty has recruited to the staff Freedom First, whether he admits it or not, after declining to run for a third term as Governor, he is getting ready to take the presidential plunge.

Aside from having gotten some of the most experienced and capable advisors in the areas of legal counsel and fundraising, most impressive of all are his internet team. Two members working in that role are Patrick Ruffini and Mindy Finn. Both of these individuals are extraordinary, not only insofar as there masterful technological skills but also in their political instincts. The combination of their expertise in both of those areas make them and the rest of their tech team a formidable threat to any potential Republican challengers to Pawlenty.

Republican Internet Guru and Strategist Patrick Ruffini

Republican Internet Guru and Strategist Patrick Ruffini

Ruffini is truly a genius. He has a talent and grasp for policy that is in line with right of center Republican thinking and sentiments. At the same time he has a keen sense of what the mood in America is, an instinct as to how to tap into that mood. And to bring it all home, he has unmatched computer technology, design and communication skills that will, without any doubt, put all the other challengers to shame when it comes to their own P.A.C. website and internet outreach.

There are others recruited by Governor Pawlenty who are accomplished in their own areas of expertise. Vin Weber, one of the P.A.C.s co-chairs, is a powerful and influential former Minnesota congressman who has been at the center of government for two decades or more. After providing great legislative success for Republicans during his 6 terms in office, he became a lobbyist and one of the most successful at that. Along the way Weber has done more than draft and pass effective legislation and make a good chunk of money for himself. He has been a key figure in the conservative cause. Along with Jack Kemp and Jeane Kirkpatrick, Weber co-founded Empower America, a conservative policy institute dedicated to promoting economic growth, freedom, and individual responsibility. The Congressman is also a senior fellow of the Progress and Freedom Foundation and active with the Aspen Institute, where he has served as co-director of the domestic policy project, and Humphrey Institute, a policy institute based at the University of Minnesota.

Former Congressman Vin Webber

Former Congressman Vin Webber

One would have to wonder why Vin Weber is himself not running for President, so having him run your own P.A.C. for President is most assuredly a smart move. But still, there will be no more shrewd and fewer important members of the Pawlenty team than Patrick Ruffini.

Not scooping him up was a mistake for other 2012 contenders like Mitt Romney. As it is, Pawlenty scooped Vin Weber away from Romney. In 2008, Weber was part of the Romney team and this shift to Pawlenty’s P.A.C. can not be seen as a positive for the former Massachusetts Governor.

Overall, Tim Pawlenty must be considered a frontrunner for the 2012 Presidential nomination. He has a very strong and successful record as Governor. Had he so desired, he could have easily won reelection to a third term as Governor. Add to that the fact that a Republican who could still be popular in a state so liberal that Al Franken could represent them in the U.S. Senate and you have a candidate who obviously has crossover appeal, something that will be a prerequisite for anyone in 2012 who tries to get some of the votes of those who supported Obama in 2008

The only things working against Pawlenty at the moment are some of the advantages that other possibly candidates for the Republican nomination have.

The clear frontrunner, Mitt Romney, has already established the kind of small but robust and substantial nationwide following that Pawlenty will have to work hard to match. Romney and other potential names also have enthusiastic bases from some core Republican constituencies like social conservatives and Christian fundamentalists. Fund raising is another hill for Pawlenty to climb. One which is not and will not be a problem for Mitt Romney. But none of these current factors are obstacles that can not be overcome with the time and carefully crafted strategies that make the inroads necessary to be a viable top tier candidate in the G.O.P. primaries that earnest campaigning for will likely begin in mid 2011. That is why launching his Freedom First P.A.C. and web site now is a smart and quite frankly, necessary move.

If Pawlenty finishes out his term with a state that continues to be in better shape than we took it over, maintains his high profile and uses his P.A.C. to support the elections of some good candidates in 2010, he will be a man to reckon with. As it stands right now, he lacks any of the criticisms that other potential Republican presidential candidates have and while he does have appeal to conservatives, it is hard to paint Pawlenty as a right wing extremist. That lack of a hard edge is what could even make him the type of candidate who could give President Obama and his liberal extremism a run for his money and make Aplenty a force for Democrats to have to reckon with in 2012 too.

As for me, my mind is open to the prospects. Excluding Mike Huckabee, I look forward to people like Pawlenty, Romney or other favorites of mine such as John Thune, Haley Barbour, Jeb Bush or Sarah Palin, all getting in there and making the best case for who and how we should lead our nation back on to the path of freedom and prosperity.

The only criticism for Pawlenty that I have right now is to drop the Tpaw moniker that I see he uses on his web site. For me it has a real backwoods southern ring to it that just doesn’t sit well. But that’s me. Who knows, maybe it has an appeal that could pick off some diehard Southern Huckabee fans which is something that a Pawlenty presidential plan will badly need to do.

Click here to visit the Freedom First web site at http://www.timpawlenty.com/

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CONSERVATIVE TORCH BEARER MAKES IT OFFICIAL – LONEGAN RUNS FOR GOVERNOR

On the very same day that Chris Christie’s resignation from the U.S. Attorney’s office takes effect, Steve Lonegan announced his own candidacy for the nomination. Speculation has it that Christie will most definitely be running for the nomination and as one of the state’s most recognizable Republican names, many hope that he does run.

So Lonegan’s kicking off his campaign with an official, public, declaration of his candidacy on the same day that Christie resignation from the U.S. Attorney’s office takes effect is no coincidence. In truth, it was a smart move.

News outlets are surely going to be mentioning Christie’s resignation and giving him some earned media. They all know that Christie’s job with the justice department prohibited him from any political activity and making any declarations of his own candidacy, but now that he is out office, the media buzz about the Governor’s race will heat up.

By making his own campaign official on this day, Steve Lonegan assured himself, at least, equal time with Christie on the airwaves. Undoubtedly, if the news does bring up the fact that Christie’s resignation became effective today, then they will surely mention the declared candidacy of his potential rival for the nomination, Steve Lonegan.

In addition to his timely announced campaign kickoff, Steve Lonegan has also launched his campaign web site (which you can link to by clicking on the image from this web site, to the right).

So I give Lonegan credit for playing it right so far. It shows that he is not just interested in the job but that he and his campaign officials know how to run for the job.

And getting the job is going to be a tough. Real tough.

While Steve Lonegan is the favorite of New Jersey conservatives, Chris Christie is the favorite of the Republican establishment in New Jersey and unfortunately for Lonegan the phrase “New Jersey conservatives” is an oxymoron. There are far fewer conservative oriented voters in this state than liberal Republicans. So Lonegan starts off at disadvantage. But it is not one that can’t be overcome.

Before Christie has even announced his own candidacy he has already been caught up in a few verbal missteps. Not long ago, while speaking before a largely Hispanic group, he indicated that illegal immigration was more of an administrative matter than a criminal issue. For that, some called for his resignation from the U.S. Attorney’s office, long before he intended to do so. That remark  will certainly be an issue that is raised if Christie runs for governor. It isn’t a silver bullet but that alone gives Steve Lonegan some fighting power that will cause Chris Christie to waste time and money responding to.

But aside from Chris Christie’s own , yet to be known, positions on the issues, Steve Lonegan has a significant record on the issues in his own right. He even has the ability to lay claim to successfully spearheading political causes. He helped to defeat many Corzine initiated measures that would have raised taxes in new Jersey.

On illegal immigration, Lonegan’s voice has been loud and clear. When he was the Mayor of Bogota, he made it known that illegal immigration was not just an administrative issue but a criminal matter that needed to be addressed.

On taxes and spending , it is also clear that Steve Lonegan is not of the center or left of center mold. In fact he stops short of declaring war on taxes and spending and makes it clear that “New Jersey’s government continues to grow beyond the people’s ability to pay.”

According to his recently launched web site, Lonegan “will fight for the forgotten citizens: the hair stylist, the legal assistant, the mechanic, the nurse, the farmer, the supermarket cashier and the factory worker” and “be the champion of the men and women who get up in the morning, go to work, and obey the law.”

I for one like what I am hearing from Lonegan but the devil is in the details and the details are what we need to hear.

If Steve Lonegan can articulate those details in an easily accessible message to the people and if they add up and are believable than he just might have my support.

But until then, I will listen closely. Unlike the race for President, I am not convinced of who is best to carry our banner in November.

In the presidential race, I was among the minority of New Jersey republicans who declared my support for Mitt Romney in September of ‘07. After witnessing the campaign that our ultimate nominee waged, I feel I was right. However in the race for Governor of New Jersey, I have no clear favorite.

Steve Lonegan does seemingly represent my views most closely but I have yet to hear from the others. Chris Christie is a blank slate to me. I, like many others know of him and know of his truly incredible work prosecuting crime but that is all I know and it’s not enough.

Even though his candidacy starts off with advantages that others do not, I refuse to give our party’s nomination to someone who wants to run like a democrat for political expediency. We have had more than enough of that. Tom Kean, Jr.’s candidacy for U.S. Senate against Bob Menendez was an example of that type of candidacy. It was the first time I could not, in good in conscience, vote for the party’s nominee. The positions that he took in that race made it obvious that a vote for him was the same as a vote for Menendez. Neither were acceptable so I wrote in the name of more deserving wished for candidate.

So Christie’s name I.D. and ability to tap into financial resources does not win me over. Where he stands on the issues is more important.

At the same time, Lonegans’s conservative credentials do not automatically make me a supporter of him. Beyond the details of his intended path to prosperity, I need to see that he has the pragmatism needed to instill a sense of confidence in voters. He also needs to demonstrate an ability to be more than a hardliner. Lonegan must show me that he can deliver our message in a manner that unifies people and crosses party lines.

If he cannot do that then all the great things that he might be able to accomplish for us are meaningless.

So I will not declare my support for any one Republican candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. I will wait to see who is most suitable on the issues and who can present those issues in the most suitable way. I will let all the candidates work hard and earn my support before I state which one deserves my support and our nomination.

That means, that Assemblyman Richard Merkt will also have my ear. As the first to really declare his candidacy, Rich Merkt deserves being heard and I welcome his presence on the stage.

I even hope that bio-tech entrepreneur John Crowley throws his hat into the ring. His presence in the contest would energize the primary battle like no other. Between his inspirational story, ingenuity, dedication and personal accomplishments, Crowley would make this a close race that would force all the candidates to be at the top of their game and as a result, the truly best man will win. Such a contest would allow us to produce a nominee that would have the very best chance of not only defeating Corzine but having the coattails to win back some seats in the state legislature.

No matter how the field shapes up though, I know that I will not be putting any effort in to nominating a Democrat-lite Republican. If that’s what New Jersey republicans want then why put up a candidate at all when we could simply vote for another 4 years of the real deal, Jon Corzine.

In the meantime, Steve Lonegan’s declaration today is exciting. He sounds like the change we need. Now he just has to prove it.

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 Dance 

    There was a dance teacher who talked of a very old dance called the Politician. “All you have to do” she told her class “is take three steps forward, two steps backward, then side-step side-step and turn around.”

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WHO WILL LEAD REPUBLICANS BACK INTO POWER

As the GOP recovers from a drubbing at that ballot box that served them with an eviction notice at the White House and a foreclosure on many seats in the house and senate, a reorganization is in order.

Crucial to a successful reorganization is the selection of it’s next national chairman.

Florida Senator mel Martinez

Florida Senator Mel Martinez

After the losses which cost them their majorities in the house and senate during the 2006 midterm elections, the powers that be, hastily installed Florida Senator Mel Martinez as the new chairman. At the same time they also elected Mike Duncan, a veteran political strategist and former Treasurer General Counselor to the RNC, to run the “day to day operations” of the national committee. In other words Duncan was actually the Chairman and Senator Martinez was to be the face of the party.

It was an arrangement that did not last long.

A few months into this arrangement, Senator Martinez stepped down and Mr. Duncan had the title all to himself. Not that it mattered. Whether it was his fault or not Republicans were outspent, out argued , outmaneuvered and voted out.

Outgoing RNC Chairman Mike Duncan

Outgoing RNC Chairman Mike Duncan

I will not blame Mike Duncan for the hemorrhaging of Republicans in this election cycle. That began before he took office, less than a year ago, and it simply continued for the time period that he was in office as chairman. It is more than likely that no individual chairman of the RNC could have prevented the losses Republicans suffered but we do know that the chairman did not help prevent them from happening.

So I do not blame Mike Duncan but I do harbor ill will to the party officials who gave up after 2006 and installed quick replacements to head up the Republican party. It was quite apparent that the party was simply trying to just get through the last two years of President Bush’s term in office. The RNC leadership were more like caretakers than leaders. They did not seek to adopt a leadership that was cutting edge and enthusiastic about revolutionizing the capabilities of the party organization and preparing us for the mother of all elections, the presidency.

It is the same complacency that helped cost Republicans their majorities in congress. Elected officials lost the anti establishment thinking that won them favor back in 1994. After becoming “the establishment” they slowly began to forget that government was there to work for the people not for the people running government.

So here we are saluting a new President-Elect, a new Democrat President-Elect. One who will be partnering with a majority of legislators who are also Democrats.

It might sound depressing to fellow Republicans but the truth is it is that for a number of reasons it is not depressing:

  • Can’t Get Much Worse -We have just about bottomed out. It truly can’t get much worse so the prospects for improving our numbers in the next election are good.

 

  • Liberals Gone Wild -With Democrats in total control of government, there is little to hold them back and prevent them from showing their true colors. When those true colors come out, Americans will realize that the direction they offer is too sharp a turn to the left for their tastes. The last time they had total control was in 1993 when Bill Clinton was President. After two years of liberals gone wild, Americans gave control, of both the house and senate, to Republicans for the first time in forty years. It was something that Republicans could not achieve on their own. It took the combined left leaning radicalization of today’s Democrat party to bring that about and it is about to happen again. In fact the greatest challenge that the new President will face comes from his own party. He will be struggling against them and fighting them in an effort to lead from the center rather than the left.

  • The War – Although the economy helped push the war off the front burner, the changing tide of the surge in Iraq also made the war less of an issue because violence and combat was down and it was being won. The war in Iraq did not help Republicans in this election cycle but not because it was unnecessary, as democrats claim,  but, as I explain in the link referenced here*, Americans became weary and leery of the war. While the surge was delayed and the administration wavered, violence spiked as a result of a resurgence of radical Islamic terrorists in Iraq. That is when Democrats successfully exploited a declining resolve to continue an effort that people were beginning to think was becoming a quagmire. Since the increased deployment of troops into Iraq, the situation improved and there is light at the end of the tunnel. As a result, despite the cries of candidate Obama to end the war, President Obama will not be withdrawing all of our forces from Iraq anytime soon.  Now that he has seen the national security data that demonstrates the dangers of his misguided promises as a candidate, as a President he will not be so quick to screw things up. Ultimately Republicans will be proven right on the issue.

 

  • The Economy – Typically our economy goes through cycles of growth and contraction every ten to fifteen years. More accurately, just about every 11 years, we encounter economic turmoil brought on by the cumulative effects of industrial shifts, world events and other related circumstances. That being said, it is how we maneuver through these cycles that determines their severity and the length of time that we endure them. The liberal propensity to raise taxes and redistribute wealth during these times does not help. Those policies simply deepen the crisis and draw out the cycle. If the knee jerk, liberal tendency towards more taxes and an expansion of government does occur, Republicans will be able to stem their losses and start increasing their numbers. The current crisis that we are experiencing is not a result of Republican economic policy. It is a result of their complacency and unwillingness to differentiate themselves from liberals when it came to spending. Our own President had no problem with cutting taxes, a good thing, but he also never cut spending and neither did fellow Republicans in congress.

All of this allows for those Republicans, who are in office, to offer alternatives to the counterproductive liberal agenda that will undoubtedly dominate national policy. To effectively achieve that, Republican members of congress need to reestablish their fiscally conservative roots and inherent sense of an offensive strategy when it comes to national security. The fact that, as Republicans, we choose to eliminate threats rather than tolerate them will be made much clearer with liberals in control and it must not be ignored.

Now that Republicans are not in control we now have the luxury that Democrats had. The luxury of not having to defend our leadership. Democrats will now have the chance to be held accountable for everything that happens. They will have to take blame for the results of increasing taxes, increasing unnecessary regulations and increasing the size and cost of government. With their leadership comes responsibility. With responsibility comes credit as well as blame. After eight years of taking blame for all that is not liked, Republicans can now luxuriate in being able to place blame on Democrats as they have done to Republicans.

But while those Republicans elected to congress do their job by providing alternatives to liberal policies and maintaining their role as the loyal opposition, our political leaders must hit the ground running.

The question now is, who is best suited to reorganize and reinvigorate Republicans? The person needed to rally Republicans must be articulate. But a good speaker is not all that we need. The person who is made the new chairman of the party must have a passionate desire to advance the cause, incredible organizational skills, the ability to delegate responsibilities to the right and most qualified people, endless energy and stamina as well as creativity and resourcefulness and a proven record of success.

The new chairman needs the same type of vision and commitment to conservative principles that the freshmen members of congress who were elected in the 1994 Republican revolution had. The new chairman must have a vision which understands that the best government is the government that gets out of the way and allows freedom to flourish by defending it at home and abroad and by insuring that opportunity is available to all.

Currently, there are seven frontrunners. They include:

Steele

Mike Steele

Michael SteeleGOPAC , former Lt. Governor of Maryland and unsuccessful candidate for US Senate in 2006.

Chuck Yob

Chuck Yob

Chuck Yob – Successful Michigan businessman, GOP fundraiser and Michigan National Committeeman

Saul Anuzis

Saul Anuzis

Saul AnuzisChairman of the Michigan Republican State Committee

Alec Pointevint

Alec Pointevint

Alec Poitevint – Georgia’s Republican National Committeeman

Katon Dawson

Katon Dawson

Katon DawsonRepublican Party Chairman of South Carolina , the state that had the best performance for Republicans during this election cycle.

Jim Greer

Jim Greer

Jim Greer – Florida’s Republican party Chairman

Chip Saltsman

Chip Saltsman

Chip Saltsman – A former Chair of Tennessee’s GOP and the former campaign manager of Mike Huckabee’s failed candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee

Speculation has not only Huckabee’s former campaign guru on the list, Mike Huckabee himself is rumored to be a potential contender. So is one of Huckabee’s former opponents for the GOP presidential nod, Mitt Romney.

Of all these names the one person who I believe could do the most for the Republican National Committee is Mitt Romney.

antrom11

Mitt Romney

Romney has been successful at every job that he has undertaken. He is passionate. He is articulate, savvy and has an eye for recruiting those who are the best at their jobs. Mitt Romney could do wonders for the party. He would be able to provide the GOP’s highly rated, get out the vote, 72 hour program with great improvements and he would create a top notch center for Republican organization, communications, fundraising and creative strategy.

Problem is that I want Mitt Romney to be able to run for President. I am looking forward to either him or Sarah Palin being our 2012 nominee. Becoming the political leader of the party does not help him establish the bipartisan image that a Presidential nominee needs. If he did as a good a job for the party as I think he would, having been the chairman of the party he rebuilds, could help him get the party’s nomination though.

However, I feel that a truly smart RNC chairman would involve Mitt Romney and utilize his expertise. Doing so would keep Romney free to expand his nonpolitical credentials while still allowing for his Midas touch to assist behind the scenes.

As for the other names mentioned, Mike Steele, Katon Dawson and Jim Greer are the only names that really interest me. Each of them have demonstrated ideological superiority to one extent or the other and have achieved outstanding results for Republicans.

Former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich

Former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich

One name not mentioned but is at the top of my list, is former Maryland Governor Robert Erhlich. After losing reelection in the 2006 GOP sea of change, Bob Ehrlich has not been discussed much. That is a shame because he happens to be one of the best in the newer generation of conservative politics. He was the first Republican to be elected governor of Maryland in almost 60 years. Through it all Ehrlich maintained his principles and conservative ideology. Not once did he try to win favor by acting like a democrat. Instead, he successfully implemented conservative ideology into government application. He also happens to be articulate and effective in his ability to explain and deliver the conservative message.

 

Sometimes referred to as a Kempite Republican, Bob Erhlich could be just what we need to rekindle our spirit and rally the cause.

Whoever the grand poobahs of the GOP hierarchy install as chairman, it is my greatest hope that they recruit the right people to carry out the mission that is ahead.

Patrick Ruffini

Patrick Ruffini

People like political Internet champion Patrick Ruffini who could incorporate the most cyber savvy organization politics has ever seen and Ralph Reed who is a master at reaching out and organizing the grassroots.

Ralph Reed

Ralph Reed

Being the minority party is not a problem to be feared. Becoming the minority is what we needed to fear and now, we are there.  So the worst is over. Now we have the chance to take advantage of what Democrats took advantage of for a long time, minority status and the ability to place blame on the powers that be that comes with it.

From here we can only come back, and if we take the right steps, we can come back quickly. To do so will require that our first steps be the right steps . In this case that would be done by picking the right person to map out our future and recruit the brightest lights to help illuminate the fast track to the reinvigoration that the party is capable of.

punchline-politics1

 

Q: What’s the problem with Barack Obama jokes?


A: His followers don’t think they’re funny and other people don’t think they’re jokes.

 

 

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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 during  a different time they covered both sides of the aisle in 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.

 

 

FORMER NY GOVERNOR ELLIOT SPITZER

FORMER NY GOVERNOR ELLIOT SPITZER

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

 

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.

 

 

BID WELL TO FIDEL?

BID WELL TO FIDEL?

7. – BID WELL 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.

 

 ant1georgis1a2

6. – THE GEOGIAN-RUSSIAN WAR

 

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 to win favor through eloquence and style over substance and fact was done to 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 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 any 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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