Republican rule: wake me when it’s over…

October 4, 2008

(Copyright 2008) 

The WALTHER REPORT

By Tony Walther

Maybe it has taken the economic nightmare we are in now for the American electorate to wake up and smell the coffee and realize that eight years of Republican administration is not working.

John McCain has not lost yet, but his campaign is said to be on the defensive, despite the energy of Sarah Palin. A first class actress she is. Is she or more importantly at this time McCain a reformer? I have not seen the proof of that.

In a hard to explain and hard to sell, I would think, twist McCain and Palin claim to be not only running against the Democrats, but the Republican establishment as well (gee why aren’t they running as third party candidates then?).

McCain is more tied to the traditional Republicans, maverick moves on isolated issues aside. And he is the presidential candidate, not Palin, although it is hard to remember. There is so much interest in Palin, as a novelty if nothing else, that the vice presidential debate Thursday evening drew many more viewers than what I consider the presidential candidate borefest last week.

Unlike the veteran, and I still say more traditional, McCain, Palin comes across as some kind of populist folk hero out of the right side of the political spectrum. But one gets the impression her noise is more of a side show to distract from the usual Republican plans to provide for those who don’t need providing for.

Of course she would have you believe she is concerned for “Joe Six Pack.” Well first of all, I doubt it. And second of all, would you want to be identified as “Joe Six Pack?” He sounds like the kind of working class fool who will spend too much out of his pay check for a six pack of beer each night, while smarter and more enterprising folks such as Sarah and Todd Palin put their efforts elsewhere (and I have no idea how much or what kind of refreshment the Palins go in for).

But just as fat cat Republicans sucker not so fat cat wannabes to go along with them, so do the enterprising Palins, both on the grounds that the other side is just a bunch of lazy loafers who want to depend upon government and in turn your hard-earned money.

Then there are the “soccer” or “hockey” moms Palin refers to. I guess those are moms who run their kids to games and have the usual concerns of parents everywhere. Well let’s see, for the last 40 years for some reason the Republicans have been the party of war – they are always itching to show American’s military muscle. Are those moms concerned that their own children might one day soon be sacrificed in war? Palin sees it as a sacred duty, because if America goes to war it has to be fighting for freedom (she perhaps has not kept up all that well on current events and did not take many history classes).

And now that I come to think of it, let’s get this straight – Palin has no ability when it comes to original or independent thinking. If she did she would not stick to that nauseatingly simple and repetitious line of trash she spews out daily. I know politicians tend to do this, but with her there seems to be no illusion that she is doing anything other than performing an act, albeit with great gusto.

That said, if these were normal times, her act might work. These are not normal times. I’m starting to see that the public is more discerning than I would have given it credit for.

Whatever, the noise does not seem to be resonating as much as it did.

I started to go over a debate transcript of the Biden-Pail thing, but I got tired. It’s really all silliness. Fact check articles on the web show that both Sarah Palin and Joe Biden were guilty of inaccuracies in their assertions and counter assertions.

And even though I blogged in my initial reaction that Palin basically won by sheer energy, I think it was a hollow victory (and most news reports called it a tie at best) because she won only because she bowled over Biden, who had been cautioned to take it easy on her as not to upset her sensibilities or those of her admirers, in an onslaught of Republican talking point nonsense that made her appear as an automaton. It was as if someone had reached up just before the debate and pulled a chord out from the back of her neck. She delivered more of a monologue than answers to questions in what passes for a debate these days.

I also noticed that Palin has the same annoying and probably nervous habit of John McCain in that when the opponent is making a point or leveling a criticism, she gives off a smirky smile.

And that loving hockey mom Palin claims to be can be as cold as ice. At one point when Biden was making some personal point concerning his family and teared up and even choked up a little, Palin was busy scribbling notes (getting more of those coached talking points ready). She didn’t look up, but she did give off that smirky smile.

I called my mom to get her reaction to the debate. She did not read my blog (failing eyesight and no computer) and I did not tell her, but she immediately noted what I had already in a previous blog. Palin in Reaganesque. She is an actress. I would not for a minute under estimate her. It worked for Ronald Reagan.

One commentator on my previous debate reaction blog noted that Palin uses “red neck” speech. The commentator said that if Obama used Ebonics (the official name for black ghetto speech, I guess), he would be called the N word by his detractors. I do hear him talk about “shout outs” occasionally, although, strangely enough, Palin used that term too. But I associate the term with modern jive talk.

I suppose Palin feels she sounds more populist, a person of the common folk, by using slang, like ending words with an n instead of ing. I’m not extremely fussy in the finer points of speech, but I think someone at that level or someone wanting to be at that level (vice presidency or presidency) needs a little more decorum. At any rate, a little slang goes a long ways. She pours it on a little too thick.

I was going to go over the debate point by point, but it is not worth it. Republicans are for top down and Democrats for bottom up. It’s really is as simple as that (yes there are variations on both sides, but the basics still remain true).

But here is something that scares me: if Palin is as incapable of forming her own words as she seems to be, then perhaps she lacks critical thinking skills. If she were to become president she would be led around by folks behind the scenes. George W. Bush, even with his Yale education, has proven to be something near an imbecile. He has been led by the nose by the forces of evil, represented by the dark and devious Dick Cheney.

Now with that last part, I have probably discredited myself in the eyes of many as being nothing more than a Bush basher. Well I am a Bush basher. It’s hard for a thinking person not to be (his handling of the war, Katrina, economic policy, his speaking abilities or lack thereof, his admission that he does not read news accounts – he just decides).

We have a choice in this election: go with the reactionaries, disguised as architects of reform, represented by the Republicans, or go with the more progressive and thoughtful element represented by the Democrats.

P.s. Even if the Republicans lose, I would not be surprised to see Sarah Palin re-emerge on the national stage. Like her or not, she is the modern version of Ronald Reagan, albeit a little rougher around the edges, and female, of course.

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Biden debates as VP, Palin as president…

October 2, 2008

(Copyright 2008)

The WALTHER REPORT

By Tony Walther

Joe Biden is a known commodity. Sarah Palin with her sorry Katie Couric interview is almost one, but tonight should be the final verdict on her side show.

Interestingly, Palin supporters put her up to be a kind of homespun common sense kind of gal. So far all I have heard from her are stock Republican talking points and nonsense and lies, such as her claiming time and again that she opposed the infamous boondoggle known as the Bridge to Nowhere when she supported it until she found it wouldn’t sell once the scheme was exposed. She successfully sought tons of the notorious congressional earmarks she and John McCain so stridently oppose. On the question of earmarks she is a prevaricator in that she makes statements that she will do away with them and implies how evil they are, but does not admit to her listeners that she was a top earmark obtainer herself. When pressed by the media (which of course her supporters characterize as the enemy) she justifies her actions by noting that they are the only practical way the system allows for localities to obtain federal funds. Nonetheless, she leaves all that out in her speeches in order that she can accuse the other side of using earmarks, as if they were doing something underhanded, but that she has been clean as the newly-driven Alaska snow. A little honesty would go a long ways Sarah.

And on world affairs, I would have been okay with her if she had just said, “I know where Russia is and I have a college education and can figure out the rest” and maybe even gave the impression she ever had any interest in the rest until now. But no, she makes the absurd claim that because from some point in Alaska (a place we now find out she has never been) you can see Russia she has insight into geo-politcal relations. Then she claims in an interview to be well read, but can’t or declines to even give an example of what she might have read. At least George W. Bush admitted he doesn’t read anything. He just decides.

Having said all that, I can’t help but have just a little empathy with Palin. She has a college degree, but she has not traveled in the same circles as some in the media and someone like Biden. She took journalism and political science and graduated from the University of Idaho with a journalism degree. She attended more than one college before getting her degree. I attended one year of junior college, then became a small town newspaper reporter and attended many night classes and then in my 40s went back and completed what I needed for the standard four-year degree. My BA degree was in political science, with many what you might call pre-law classes. I had wild ambitions of maybe going to law school. Reality set in – I had a family to support – and I went back to newspapering. I lost out finally in a corporate downsizing and went into truck driving. So there I was, a college educated person who never really, as I call it, “joined the club.” It took my life story there to explain why I have some, not much, empathy for Palin. The only problem is that if you’re just as good as they are (members of the club) you have to prove it. Tonight, Palin has to prove it, as far as I am concerned. Stock answers that don’t even match up to the questions will not do.

In reality, Palin has more to prove than Biden. In all likelihood, if Barack Obama becomes president, Biden will be nothing more than a stand-in and perhaps a foreign policy advisor, both things he can obviously handle. If McCain wins, due to his age and his cancer-related health history, Palin would be much more likely to assume the presidency. And she has no record anywhere near that level.

So, tonight Biden debates as a vice presidential candidate. Palin debates as a presidential candidate.


Bail fail, VP debate, rebuilding America…

September 29, 2008

(Copyright 2008)

The WALTHER REPORT

By Tony Walther

Could this be the beginning of another Great Depression? The $700 Billion Wall Street bailout bill went down to defeat today in the House of Representatives and stocks plunged and there have been bank failures across the globe just preceding this. Apparently there will be no more action on this until tomorrow and maybe not even till Thursday.

My last blog was headlined: Democracy altered bailout, can it kill it? Guess I got my answer. Actually it was democracy and politics. No one wants to take the blame; everyone wants the credit, and there is no way to know what will happen if the bailout (or rescue)  ultimately passes or fails. Leadership is needed, but who can lead?

That was a new lead and now back to my blog as written hours earlier:

The bailout bill is said to be posted on the House Financial Services Committee website, and I know it is posted elsewhere on the web, along with summaries or news stories about it. I only quickly read over a summary on the LA Times site and listened to reports on TV.

As it now stands, the $700 billion would not all be allocated all at once. In some cases the government would buy up bad assets and in some investors would purchase government underwritten insurance on questionable assets. There are also provisions for the government to gain an equity stake in companies benefitting from the program in order that if the market turns around the government can actually make money on the deal. There are also to be curbs on executive pay for firms that take part. All that was from a summary I read in the LA Times.

…. It looks like the upcoming vice presidential debate on Thursday promises to be more exciting than the presidential candidate one this past Friday. How Sarah Palin could possibly stand up to Joe Biden is a wonder to me, but then again, I am often surprised at the outcomes of things (like that borefest last Friday). But let’s pray that Sarah does surprise us all. We can’t afford even the possibility that she would become president some day if her past performance, especially before Katie Couric, is any example of her knowledge and abilities. Just poor Sarah’s luck that Katie would finally start acting like a news person again and she, Sarah, was her first victim. I don’t care for Mrs. Palin’s politics. I think, however, she is a well meaning person catapulted into something that is way out of her league. It’s a little sad, and a lot embarrassing. The word is that she is sequestered down at the McCain Sedona spread in Arizona cramming for the big test. My guess is that she will bend pre-programmed talking points into an answer for each question whether it fits or not. 

… Something strangely left out of Friday’s foreign policy debate between John McCain and Barack Obama was what is going on down Venezuela way. Russian war ships are set to exercise with that country’s navy in November and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez claims his country may work on a nuclear power deal with Russia. As I wrote in a previous blog, that would have been a cause for alarm and amounted to a threat to start World War III back in the Cold War days, i.e. , the Cuban Missile Crisis of the early 60s. And what about the Monroe Doctrine?

… And back to the economic thing. From what I am reading I do see the signs that life in America is not going to be the same with or without the latest bailout bill. My hope is that while there could be some discomfort it will serve as a kind of catharsis and then we will forge ahead with a new and more prudent but still vibrant way of doing business that will eventually lead to a new prosperity.

We really need to find some way to declare victory in the Middle East and come home.

Four thousand plus dead, thousands more wounded, and as much as a trillion dollars invested so far to help nations that fight internally among one another instead of working together to be free. And Iraq keeps its oil money and forces us to spend our own treasure. In my opinion we should get the oil revenues because we invested in it with our money and blood.

There was no reason to go into Iraq other than the oil. And as far as Afghanistan goes, why do we have to send a whole army to get one man? Originally we went into Afghanistan because they apparently were harboring Osama bin Laden, the admitted master mind of 9/11. It seemed as if Iraq had essentially by its actions put itself at a state of war with us. But after all this time it seems foolish to use an army to hunt one elusive man. Everyone knows that we are trying to create by blood sweat and tears a Middle East that is friendly to us. It’s not worth it.

Some say it is better to fight “them” over there than to fight “them” here. I don’t know. I think we need to rebuild our own country and that we are running out of money to fight “them” over there. I say let’s put our resources into the job that needs to be done at home and by God if “they” want to fight us here we’ll be ready.