Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Don't be afraid to tell people bad news

What the report out the past day or so about the BP Oil spill makes it clear is how much the administration has been caught up in the whole Washington trap of trying to candy coat everything.

Start with the economy. Even today, most people don't blame Obama for it.

But the reports of 'greenshoots' last year and continuously trying to talk it up have had an effect-- not on the economy, but on the administration's credibility.

Then there is Afghanistan. Remember that the Bush administration's repeated assertions that things were going well in Iraq when they were not destroyed their credibility over time. But it seems as if the Obama administration is repeating the same mistakes. We still have no clear mission, no definition of what a 'victory' even is, and we are losing American soldiers and dumping money into it, for WHAT? Who knows anymore? But whatever it is, is still getting sugar coated by the administration.

So now the oil spill report comes out. The oil spill was another situation that Obama did not create-- it was BP's fault. But now we learn that the administration was continually trying to minimize the apparent scope of the disaster, sticking to numbers that were only 1/60th the actual size of the spill.

My question is, WHY!!?? Why carry BP's water on this and get slicked yourself as a result? I don't understand that. Is it a reflexive reaction in Washington that when you are in control all news must be spun to the positive side?

Americans are adults and would like to be treated accordingly. If the news is bad, then tell us the bad news.

In 1940, Winston Churchill took over from Neville Chamberlin during the most discouraging days of World War II. He made a speech in which he promised the British people, "I have nothing to offer you but blood, tears, sweat and toil." Then a couple of weeks later as German forces closed in on Paris he began a speech with, "The news from France is very, very bad" before going into details. Whatever one might think of Churchill, he set a mold with those two speeches that it would do well for our politicians to follow.

When you only spin all news as good, you close the trap upon yourself. You now own it, any failure to live up to what you've said (i.e. reality) becomes a disappointment, and after enough times of crying "no wolf!" people start to not believe you and all you can do is scream "Happy, happy news, all is well!" all the louder to compensate. Eventually you blow out the amplifier.

This is something it would behoove President Obama to learn as soon as possible.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Of armed mice and blasting mountains apart in God's name

Which of the following quotes is fake?

. American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains. So they’re already into this experiment.

-- Delaware GOP Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell, in an interview with the Bill O'Reilly show in 2007.

"I don’t think anybody’s going to be missing a hill or two here and there

-- Kentucky GOP Senate nominee Rand Paul

I hope that's not where we're going, but you know if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I'll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out."

—Nevada GOP Senate nominee Sharron Angle, floating the possibility of armed insurrection in a radio interview, Jan. 2010

"We would be much better off with a closer relationship between church and state."

-- Colorado GOP Senate nominee Ken Buck, in an interview on the Jim Pfaff show, May 21, 2010

Sadly, none of these quotes are false. If Republicans take over the Senate, these are the people who will be running the show.

The Tea-Party driven GOP is rapidly deteriorating into the party of complete wackos. No wonder so many of them are birthers.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Does Paul Gosar trust the voters? Doesn't look that way to me.

It's been two weeks since the Arizona primary it's still true that nobody knows who Paul Gosar is.

And I think he wants to keep it that way. The Republican challenging Ann Kirkpatrick for Congress still hasn't put much of anything on his website beyond that he was named 'Dentist of the Year.' OK, well Doc Holliday was a dentist too. I want to know more than that. But I've been to his website several times and have learned practically nothing about his views on complex subjects like Social Security, education and HOW to balance the budget (since he says he supports a balanced budget amendment) while also cutting taxes (since he also says he wants to do that.) IF he really thinks he can balance the budget while cutting taxes, I'd like to have some hint of exactly where he will cut trillions out of the budget because that is what it would take.

Why not answer this? Don't the voters have a right to an answer? Well, apparently not, I guess.

I have found video of him on the internet, but he's always speaking to the same tea party base. In some places that might be enough, but Arizona district one is a huge district with a very diverse group of voters. But apparently he doesn't trust the rest of us enough to actually talk to us.

Even his web ads are nothing but a sign with his name on it interspersed with a stream of standard GOP rhetoric (this could have been any Republican campaign ad for the past quarter century.)

Last week, Rep. Kirkpatrick sent Gosar a letter challenging him to a series of five debates. He has not responded yet. As a guy with low name recognition, don't you think he'd welcome the opportunity to have not just one, but five debates against the incumbent he hopes to replace? Heck, Terry Goddard can't even get Jan Brewer to agree to ONE debate, and here Ann Kirkpatrick, who wants to let people have the opportunity to see, hear and decide based on what they have seen and heard, offers Gosar FIVE debates and he can't even decide whether he wants to debate her?

WHY NOT? It seems clear that he doesn't trust the voters to actually watch him in a debate.

Maybe he's playing 'stealth' now because some of what he has said, is certainly open to question. For starters, last week he said he's "not a fan" of the seventeenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution and it seems he wants to repeal it.

That's the amendment that allows us to vote for our own U.S. Senators. He would prefer the legislature do it. Is he serious about that? Think about the Arizona legislature for a moment, and ask whether you'd want Russell Pearce and Ron Gould naming a U.S. Senator, rather than you having the right to vote for one.

Apparently once again, Paul Gosar doesn't trust the voters and wants to take away our right to vote for our representation in the United States Senate.

I for one value my right to vote. And while I've sometimes not agreed with Representative Kirkpatrick (such as when she voted against the Energy Bill last year) I can see that she's considered the needs of a very large and very diverse district-- and it reflects in her voting record.

Let's remember that it was only two years ago that the last Republican to be elected in this district, who had earlier been named three years in a row to the list of 'Washington's dirtiest members of Congress,' a list where he joined luminaries like Duke Cunningham and William Jefferson-- declined to run again after being indicted on multiple counts of bribery, embezzlement and extortion. Ann Kirkpatrick has restored honor and personal integrity to the office of our district's member of the House of Representatives of the United States. For that alone, she would deserve re-election.

If Paul Gosar wants to aspire to such an office then he needs to come out and say who he is and be specific about what his plans are and how he plans to accomplish them. He's so far not done that.
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