Few will argue, I am sure, with the idea that David Letterman leans a bit to the left. I guess there will be those who say he does more than just lean, and I can't argue with that.
I remember during the 2000 election, he would show a clip over and over of Governor (he was Governor then) Bush's visit to his show. The clip is below:
And I will admit that I was a bit surprised. Actually I was horrified. I figured either the Governor lost his place and was unknowingly inconsiderate, or he knew exactly what he was doing which is just as bad because he was being terribly inconsiderate.
Anyway, fast forward some eight years later and President Obama is on Letterman. I will admit to having missed his introduction, but I hear this morning someone talking about that very intro. The comment?
"Why did they stand up for him?"
I'm assuming the person is talking about the president getting a standing ovation. The reply from the other person?
"Because Letterman is a liberal show. The audience is packed with liberals."
Well to be fair. I can't argue with that either. But I would imagine the real reason is that the President of the United States entered the room. I don't care if it's President Obama, President Bush (well I would care actually as I prefer one over the other) or another president. It is just the honorable thing to do.
People stood up because he is the President. Because whether they voted for him or not, whether they like him or not he embodies the office and it is the office they stand in respect of.
I promise you, were President Bush to have entered a room at which I was in attendance, it would have been nothing short of automatic for me to stand. Again, it's not the person, it's the office.
And there's where the problem lies. Not in that people stand, but that someone actually had to ask why. If we were to follow that logic, then the president really is only the president of those who voted for him. A military general commands only those people who like him and laws are to be obeyed only if we feel like it.
I know FDR was called a Socialist, I know people screamed bloody murder about MediCare when it was first introduced, but I just can't believe that it was ever this bad. I hope it was, and I only say that because if it wasn't, than I am truly frightened by where this all may lead.
It is reported that former president Jimmy Carter went to a nursing home where Jody Powell's mother lives to tell her of her son's death before she could hear it on television news.
I was pretty shocked to hear of Powell's death. He, of course, was press secretary to President Carter and before that to Carter when he was the Governor of Georgia.
Powell arrived at the White House in 1976 when Carter unseated President Gerald Ford in that very contentious election. Of course Ford and Carter would later become friends, but it was the friendship of Powell who many say was among his closest and most cherished.
They met back in 1966 when Jimmy Carter thrust his hand toward Powell at a shopping center and, with a wide smile, said "I'm Jimmy Carter and I'm running for Governor."
Carter didn't win then, but in his next race he found the young Powell an eager volunteer and before long an unofficial chauffeur. Carter, it is said, was so impressed with the young Powell's knowledge of politics and policy that they immediate struck up a strong and long lasting friendship.
It probably also helped that both were from small towns in Georgia, religious and had similar outlooks on life.
Much like the Clinton years that would follow, the Carter White House received criticism by the Washington establishment that it was overrun by young turks who had more ambition than sense.
Of course that would prove to be wrong as President Carter made it a point to tackle as much as he could in one term as others might in two and he had the backing of his young, bright and energetic Georgia team. When told by friends to slow down and not take on too many controversial issues, Carter famously responded that he was elected president and it was his duty to do as much as he could, not to parse issues out so that he could stand a better chance of reelection.
Powell was not just a close friend of the president, but a fierce defender of him as well. And that defense would come to the forefront most recently when Senator John McCain, in his most recent bid for president, would call out former President Carter on any number of issues. It was Powell who was quick to point out Carter's early warnings about the nation's dependency on foreign oil and the fact that it was Carter who, in an effort to ween the country off of that oil, instituted plans that would include conservation, solar and other efforts that would have make the United States largely energy independent by the early part of this century. Of course once out of the White House those plans were scrapped by the new administration.
While I was probably first aware of Ron Nessen (press secretary to President Ford) and the duties to which they are charged, it was really Jody Powell who I came to recognize as the voice of the president.I became so intrigued at his ability to convey issues in a calm and folksy manner and realized that the message can better be delivered if done so in a friendly almost conversational manner. He was also rather adept at deflecting difficult questions with ease, although sometimes with a little heated exchange.
While I know I'm getting older and those who are older than me are doing the same. It's sad to lose those who we held in high regard. And Jody Powell was someone who I held in high regard.
It is probably a testament to how highly the former president regarded him as well. It seems to be telling of a different era, when people went out of their way to try to make things better for one another. And it is a testament to President Carter's good will and his deep friendship for Powell that he opted to be the one to share the heartbreaking news with Powell's mother.
I hope there are more Jody Powell's and Jimmy Carter's on the horizon. But from the way politics look these days, this may truly be one more step in the passing of an era.
I am enough of an idealist that I honestly believe we have one of the, if not the, best forms of government on the planet.
Yes, I understand that a parliamentary form can allow a variety of different groups the ability to have a bigger say by forming coalitions in order to govern, but I still prefer ours and I think ours does work.
My religious faith is paramount in my life. Even so, I can't adequately express the feelings of awe and reverence I feel for my government. When I visited the great rotunda at the US Capitol a few years ago I was transfixed by thoughts of the very ideals that caused the building of that structure.
When I sat in the Senate gallery and was lucky enough to hear Senator Edward Kennedy's impassioned plea for health care, the latest of thousands of pleas by hundreds of Senators over the last couple of centuries on everything that directly affects the people of our nation ... well, there was no doubt I was in hallowed halls.
So imagine my disgust a few years ago when I learned that the president of the Senate, the Vice President of the United States while in the senate chamber told a colleague, a member of a different party, to "go fuck yourself."
So I guess it shouldn't surprise me that when President Obama delivered his speech tonight, to a joint session of congress, that some ignorant representative (Republican Joe Wilson of South Carolina) would heckle the president by calling him a liar.
We don't have a parliament. Members of each party do not shout down others in the chamber. We are respectful to the president because, like him or not, he is the president of the United States. Members elected to Congress should be respectful to one another because those other members are representatives of citizens of the United States.
And while I'm on the subject, I remember a person being ejected from the gallery before a State of the Union speech to be given by President George W. Bush because this person wore a shirt that had a written message on it. Well, why wasn't Representative Louie Gohmert, R-Texas ushered out for wearing a sign around his neck?
I am disgusted by Representatives WIlson and Gohmert. They epitomize what is wrong with politics in this country. It is that attitude, that disregard for common decency that makes people throw up their hands and disregard politics and news all together.
And maybe that's their goal. Maybe it is frustration that they are trying to sow; hoping enough people will be disgusted with politics and news in general that we'll all turn into lemmings. We'll just follow whomever screams the loudest, makes the quickest retort or lies most convincingly.
Well, if that is what it is they're trying to do, I have only one thing to say; and my apologies for uttering this; but to them I say, "go fuck yourself!"
"Change is rarely easy, even when it's right," California Assemblymember Marty Block said today.
The California Supreme Court's decision to uphold California's Proposition 8 and letting stand that marriage should be between opposite sex couples while, at the same time, upholding the marriages of roughly 18,000 same sex couples is an odd compromise at best. While I understand their belief that the wishes of the public must be respected, the truth is that the public isn't always on the right side of what is right. This is why we have a justice system that is supposed to be blind.
Let me say here that I am still a supporter of the president. I think he's making great strides in a variety of areas. But with the Don't Ask, Don't Tell issue put on the back burner, little comment on today's California decision. It doesn't' surprise me that images like the one below appear.
Compromise is important. Compromise is necessary. But compromise must never be used to elevate one group of people over another.
The comment from the White House was not inspiring. Especially when it was asked nearly three hours after the ruling.
It's lost on no one that this is a divisive issue. But just because issues are divisive doesn't mean they should be ignored.
I don't expect everything to happen at once. I don't expect it all to happen within a week, or month or year even. But we need to move in the right direction or at least be given the hope that we are moving in the right direction.
I hope this administration doesn't bungle the gay issue the way the Clinton administration did. Yes, President Clinton brought gay issues to the forefront and we are all better for it. But that was over 15 years ago. It's time to move forward on this issue.
Comments like the one below don't offer me inspiration for change or hope. And I, for one, voted for this president becuase I want change, and I need hope!
I used to listen to Rachel Maddow on XM radio. Since I've gotten a new car, it comes equipped with Sirius/XM which has one channel for broadcasters who lean to the left. But the line-up is such that I don't enjoy most of them, or the one's I do enjoy seem to be at hours when I'm not in the car. So I try to catch Maddow's show on the rebroadcast on MSNBC. Not always successful, but when I am, I'm rarely disappointed.
I might point out, that there are at least three radio stations dedicated to the far right on Sirius/XM compared to the one for those leaning left. I wonder why that is?
Basically he asserts that the country is made less safe now because while he was in office, the issue of terrorism was treated as a military one. Now, however, the current president is going back to "law enforcement mode," which is to say hunting down the terrorist and bringing them to trial, which he says is less effective. Never mind that his brand of fighting terrorism never resulted in the capture of the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.
He says, in fact, it was this way of treating terrorism that had made them so successful in their fight. He says, "[it is the] concept of military threat that is essential if you’re going to successfully defend the nation against further attacks.”
I guess what irritates me about this is he was the guy who was in charge of the whole Anti-terrorism Task Force that received the now famous [Gary]Hart/[Warren]Rudman report on terrorism that read, in part "mass casualty terrorism directed against the U.S. homeland is of serious and growing concern."
Oh yeah, he was also privy to the Presidential Daily Briefing memo that had the prescient title of "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.''
Of course his reaction to those two memos was to do nothing. He never convened the task force for which he was charged.
In the end after the horrific attacks of 9/11 we gave Afghanistan an ultimatum. Turn over Bin Laden or suffer the consequences. They chose to suffer the consequences. Then we attacked Iraq.
To say that this administration is making us less safe ignores the hotbed of terrorism and the instability of Iraq. Is it quieter now than three years ago, yes it is thank God. But for this guy to even talk about keeping us safe is disgraceful. After all, he was the guy who got not one, not two, not three, not four, but five deferments to Viet Nam because he "had other priorities in the 60s than military service."
Well, the President, and the nation has more important things to do than listen to this windbag who, I honestly feel, has made not only our country less safe, but the world at large.
I think Mr. Cheney would be best served by taking a long hard look in the mirror!