A Voice of Reason: Sane Views for a Crazy World

November 9, 2008

Opinion: Why President Elect Obama Won

Here is my analysis of a few key factors that elected our new President.  First just a few points.  This was not a landslide, not even close.  While Mr. Obama has in my view a clear mandate, he still has 46% plus who remain unsold.  However, gathering 52% is a good sign for his administration.  Secondly, statistically speaking he did NOT inspire people to vote more than in past elections.  The percentage of the voters relevant to total population was statistically insignificant in 2008 than 2004 and 2000. 

1) Ability to stay on message.  This is called by Jim Collins “The Hedgehog Principle”.  Hedgehogs in the business and political world have the ability to stay focused and on message.  They know what they do well and they make that their selling point.  The Obama campaign was highly disciplined.  Other than the occassional gaffe that he made against certain radio show commentators, which hurt him in all probability, the campaign, also helped by media which did not press the stories, would not allow themselves to be taken off their message, which was simple.  The message was, things are bad, we can bring about change.  The changes sought were tied to the current dissatisfaction the country has with the Bush Administration, but was generally short on details.  This was picked up by many as being vapid.  However, give credit to the Obama Campaign handlers.  They made a choice to keep him away from town hall venues and press interviews where he could be hurt.  I believe his relatively poor performance at Saddleback showed their wisdom in this and solidified their resolve not to let events they couldn’t control, such as the economy alter their message of change.  If anything they took the events handed to them and used the events to be an echo of a broad theme.

2) The financial debacle.  One of the things that in contrast to Sen. McCain’s reaction of “I must do something” was that the Obama handlers used the event to broadcast their theme.  This was in disregard to many of the inconvenient facts – the much of the problems of the banking mess were caused by policies created under President Carter and greatly expanded under President Clinton.  The correlation picked up by some in the media – mostly print – of ties to Fannie and Freddie and high ranking Democrats never was picked up.  Obama stayed out of the fray but framed the fray to buoy his premise that “change is needed”.  It worked.  While the crisis was not cooked by campaign, the decision to stay outside the mess initially showed him being detached, and that is not always a bad thing as it is more objective.  Many polls showed that McCain was gaining traction and had a slight lead up to this point.  This was caused in part by some slips by the Obama campaign, the momentum of the GOP Convention – which was effective, and the initial excitement of Sarah Palin into the foray. 

3) Ability to appear credible.  Sen. Obama’s largest hurdle was to keep the excitement of his base, youth and left to left of center Americans and expand his credibility to John and Mary Q. Public who are Center to Center Right.  America was seen, and most identified themselves as “Conservative”.  There is one bit of news that shows this to be true, at least socially.  California’s repudiation by the voters of same sex marriage – in a year where the left and center left continued to show their appeal over right and center right candidates by a 15% point margin – indicates that even among “blue states” there is a cultural position of maintaining the status quo.  Although he fared badly at Saddleback, and any objective reporting of the event along with the shift of pubilc sentiment alludes to that, the fact that Sen. Obama was visibly comfortable with the Evangelical community is important.  There is a reason.  Although politically many ” ‘Black’ Evangelicals” are left and left of center, culturally many of them are right of center – to include school reform (vouchers, NCLB) and most notably views on homosexuality  This allowed those Evangelicals who are more Centrist and whose interpretation of their Christitanity leads them to value social activism and bread and butter issues highly – such as The Soujourners – to ally with Mr. Obama.  Obama also showed a shift – and it was a major one – during the debates.  Stating that “conditions on the ground” would dictate American policy in Iraq was startling and far more hawkish than anything he or any other Democrat had said during the primary season.  This combined with his statements of expanding the war in Afghanistan and putting pressure on Pakistan took away the “wimp factor” in many.  Mr. Obama’s shifting to the center from the hard left of the Democratic base is as old as politics.  Run to your base in the primary, tack to the mainstream in general election.  It will be interesting to see how he governs.

4.  Weariness of the Bush Administration.  This is the real reason why Sen. Obama won the election.  I will not offer conjecture if Sen. Clinton would have fared better, but I think it would have been about the same.  By all counts this was the nation speaking with their ballots of their dissatisfaction with Iraq policies and the numerous failures of the Bush Administration – and there are many to bring to light.  The Bush Administration started losing this election with their victory in 2000.  Fifty percent of the nation was not happy with that result.  President Bush did enjoy many political and policy victories.  NCLB will remain with the nation in some form for many years.  Efforts to change the political and social framework in Africa will also remain.  Also, it is likely that US policies in the Middle East will remain in some form and that the “War on Terror” will be funded with many of the policies once opposed by the Dem base suddenly accepted.  The NYT reported about GITMO on Wednesday and it was amazing how suddenly GITMO was no longer the first level of Dante’s Hell.  
However, the many debacles of the Bush Administration including the handling of the Iraq War after the initial objectives had been achieved, the perception and reality of the “out of touchness” that the President had whether it was by not listening to then NSA Rice message to “Get back to DC NOW” or the realities and perceptions of the sluggishness of federal response to Katrina.  Throw in the perceptions of ABU and you get the picture.  Most reasonable people understand that the POTUS does not have a big say in economic trends.  They either benefit or take blame from the markets, but what Presidents can do is frame perspective.  Whether or not the latter is Mr. Bush’s fault – although many have viewed him as a “lame duck” since ’06, the people’s loss of confidence in the outgoing administration was in many ways deserved.  Sen. McCain had to fight against a skilled opponent and his own Party’s brand label.  Even Sen. Obama wouldn’t have been able to overcome those factors.

Summary:  All of this is prologue.  The interesting part to watch will be to see how Mr. Obama governs as President Obama.  If a President Obama is able to do as well as he did with the first three points in his administration it will likely enjoy success and populrity.  However, he won’t have George Bush to kick around after the first few months.  The onus will be on him and Congress to truly bring about policies that unite America.

I also believe he will shift back towards the left from the smaller moves he had made to the Center.  In many ways he should if you believe as I do he had a mandate.  The media and the Dems were correctly criticial of the Bush Administration – particularly from ’00 to 06 in not being inclusive.  I have a feeling the same will happen, and in some ways that troubles me as I am more Centrist than either the Bush or forthcoming Administration will be.

While I don’t believe he will make the US a “Socialist” country, I would be shocked if policies that favor Big Government a la New Deal and Great Society are not reintroduced.  There are other concerns that are shared.  Mr. Obama’s declaration of a “Civilian Defense and Security Force” equal in footing and funding to the US military is as vague as it is troubling.   I also think that this administration will be as partisan as President Bush’s was partisan, as President Clinton’s was partisan.  

Some things won’t change.  That is something you truly can believe in.

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May 23, 2007

Poll: Majority of Muslim Immigrants Assimilating Well

A poll by the Pew Research Foundation has found that

Most Muslim Americans are moderate, mainstream and middle class, the study shows. They are largely assimilated, happy with their lives and have adopted such core American values as a belief that hard work will lead to success. Their income and educational levels also are comparable with those of most Americans, the study found.

However, the same poll found that nearly one in four Muslims under 30 years old,believe that suicide bombing in the defence of Islam are justified in “some” circumstances.

Pew Research President Andrew Kohut claims that his news is rather positive, and that

“This is a group living as most Americans live … a group that is assimilating or aspiring to assimilate.”

Of course he leaves out that rather worrying 25% who have no problem with suicide bombings in “some” circumstances.

While I am happy that 75% to 80% of those Muslims who have emigrated to the US are not in favor of such activity, I wonder what would the reaction be if the same question were given to Jews, and if it were found that 25% of younger Jews support suicide bombings if they felt that Judaism had been besmirched. I’m sure that would go over very well.  If all the African Americans in the US were surveyed, and the same results had been displayed, do you think that would possibly have received a different view other than happiness?  How well would the same information be received if 25% of Evangelicals felt that suicide bombings were appropriate if Christianity had been disrespected, which is an everyday occurence if you watch mainstream television or listen to some politicians speak. Would that be cause for rejoicing or cause for Congress to act in a draconian measure to those people who had been in the US for quite a long while. What if 25% of those who are illegally here felt that suicide bombings were acceptable in some circumstances? Do you think that there would be much of a discussion about the need to reach them, or would the talk be centered on deportation, much as it is today, even though illegals perform statistically lower amount of violent felonies, including homicide than the public at large.

Typical pandering to the Religion of Peace. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that 75% of the people surveyed are happy with America, and want to assimilate. However, 25% endorsing terrorist techniques is a reason for concern, not happiness.  Then again, I’m sane.

May 18, 2007

Quote of the Day

With special deference to today’s headlines:

Latinos are Republicans.  They just don’t know it yet.

Ronald Reagan

May 17, 2007

The GOP Debate was not about Education – A Rejoinder Part VI

This is where I post my own humble conclusions about what I had offered from the body of literature.  It is also where I speak in my own – admittedly not so reasoanble voice.  On this issue I come as close as I ever do to becoming an ideologue.  It is not based upon a liberal or conservative view of the world, but it is based upon a passion which I feel towards teaching children.  I have literally cried when I consider the challenges facing teachers and learners in this present day.  I also believe strongly that in this case in particular Federal intervention was needed, but was also long overdue.  I may later present the legal arguements I brought forward in an education policy class in defense of Federal actions in this traditionally state manner.  I did so from legal rulings in the past based upon Constitutional cases.

Again, my thanks to Maggie’s Notebook and Morewhat.com for posting on this topic.

Conclusion

When faced with these challenges it is understandable that many would throw up their hands in despair.  These challenges may have been exacerbated by NCLB’s requirements of each school possessing highly qualified teachers, and annually holding schools accountable for the measured academic achievement of each student. 

However, an alternate theory may be that NCLB exposed existing inequality in the public school systems across the nation.  While many would say that NCLB is a series of unfunded mandates,  a countering argument can be made; that the federal government stepped into an area that should have been addressed and funded by the states a long time ago.  Candidly, if the problems associated with the education of inner-city poor and minority children were typical of the affluent, predominately white suburbs, one can only imagine how quickly the issues regarding equity in education would have been addressed.  The inferred message that American public schools sent was, as long as the white, affluent, and middle class children of the suburbs are performing well, education is fine.  Poor children, particularly those of color, do not count in the evaluation of school performance.  Those that would refute this supposition should take a look at the lack of a coherent and cohesive policy prior to NCLB to address equity in education; look hard, none existed.

Failure to face the challenges of providing quality teachers and education in hard to staff schools is nothing more than a failure of leadership.  Rather than addressing the inherent fiscal bias, the inherent racism of public perceptions, and unlawful application of federal funding measures, administrators react to the remarkably reasonable mandate that all public schools adequately educate children in the following manner:

“I have difficulty with the standards because they’re so unattainable for so many of our students . . . We just don’t have the same kids they have on Long Island or Orchard Park.” (Superintendent, Buffalo Schools; The Buffalo News, October 21, 2002).

If a school has five subgroups (of students) and four do well, but one fails, the entire school is a failure.  We don’t think that’s fair.” (Reg Weaver, President of the NEA, Whittier Daily News, 5/24/03). 

No matter how these statements are parsed, explained, or justified, they infer prejudice based upon race and financial background.  These statements truly mean, “Some children – particularly those who are poor and are of a different color than the majority – can’t learn”. 

In our society it is a given that all can pass a road test to get a driver’s license.  It is a sad commentary that educational leaders have less confidence in a person’s ability to learn to read, write, and compute mathematics based upon their race and financial background, than they do in their ability to learn how to drive a vehicle, obey laws of operation of said vehicle, and maintain said vehicle as a part of their daily routine.  “What these “leaders” say is heard by parents – about whose kids matter, by students – about how much the educators think they can learn, and by teachers – about if they should consider or even should they try to educate these students” (Education Trust, 2006).  These “leaders” should just exit the door, and not bother coming back.  America’s students, particularly those who need leaders, deserve far better.

            While real leaders may not like some of the implications of NCLB law, it is fair to consider that fifty years ago many did not like the implications of another federal law, Brown v. Board of Education.  There are quite probably difficulties, and areas of the federal law that will require revision.  However, NCLB mandates, at the very least, accomplishes a great deal by the following: (1) Requiring states to perform their gate-keeper responsibility in monitoring minimal teacher quality: (2) Requiring states to measure student achievement by objective standards, and thereby also measure school efficacy; (3) Requiring states to compile data in a disaggregated manner to allow an understanding of various impacts that social setting, economic diversity, racial composition, and other factors have upon student achievement; (4) Promoting equity to the schools which are in most in need; and who for years have been victimized by policies which are inherently biased due to race and economic status; having the cumulative effect of de facto segregation laws, in our public schools.  

Much has occurred with regard to meeting NCLB’s mandate concerning Highly Qualified Teachers in every classroom by the end of the current school year( this was written awhile back).  Clearly, this goal has not been reached by many of the states, and what remedy may be applied by the federal government towards those states and schools in non-compliance has not been determined.  One solution, that at first appears to be obvious, may not be correct.  Simply adding funding, to increase teacher salaries, may not be the best answer.  It is not practical to expect salaries to increase the estimated 25% to 43% that research shows would be needed for many teachers to stay in their current assignment within high need schools.  Trends in education concerning factors inside the workplace, offer a good deal of hope, and may offer a local and internal solution to a problem.  Rather than the traditional approach of throwing money at a problem, which in the case of Title I has been shown to often be ineffective, schools need to investigate what they can do internally to improve their efficacy, such as happened in Milwaukee.

GOP Debate was not about Education – A Rejoinder Part V

Again, I give credit to Morewhat.com and Maggie’s Notebook for bringing this vital area of national policy to the front row.  Although we may disagree upon the implementation of the policy, this topic is certainly worthy of discussion.

This segment will analyze and review the radical reform that the inner city schools of Milwaukee, which was launched under an initiative by then Governor Tommy Thompson, which made me “very” interested in his candidacy, undertook in the late 1990’s and early 2000 years.   This section focuses on what schools are doing to help improve efficiency, effectiveness, and equity.   The latter part of this post deals with “hypothetical” recommendations to be made to the Department of Education, or maybe to a GOP candidate!

The Milwaukee Miracle

While the evidence shows that all is not well with the state of schools meeting NCLB’s challenges regarding teacher quality, there is a basis for hope.  This hope rests upon the basis that quality teachers and sound district policies can make an impact upon children. One of the most startling examples was found in the City of Milwaukee’s public schools.

Analysis of data collected from 1995 to 1998 (Reaves, 2000), from over 228 diverse schools serving over 130,000 students of diverse traits, found that there are associations between school quality, some teaching qualities and student achievement.  This was found to be true in schools where: more than 90% of their student body eligible for free and reduced lunches, more than 90% of the students belong to ethnic minority groups, and more than 90% of the students met or achieved high academic standards, as measured by independently conducted tests.  The characteristics that these schools shared were: a focus on student achievement, clear curricular choices reached by collaborative efforts, frequent assessment, an emphasis on writing, and external, collaborative scoring of work.  Interestingly, consensus on the success of this approach is agreed upon by politically conservative voices (Heritage Foundation) and liberal voices (The Education Trust).  These findings also seemingly echo Hanushek’s findings, concerning factors other than salary, leading to teacher retention and student achievement. 

Recommendations

            From the literature a few findings demand attention regarding current school policy.  The following recommendations should be applied: 

(1) Strict control and regulation concerning allocation of Title I funds to ensure funding lands into the schools that need it the most (Roza, 2005).

(2) Each state setting up grants that encourage teachers to work in schools needing highly qualified teachers the most (Pierce, 2001). 

(3) A longitudinal study, financed by a public agency, regarding the teacher-mentoring program embarked upon by New York City Schools to measure if factors within a particular building can be attributed to teacher retention (Moir, 2006, Hanushek et al., 2004)

(4) Follow up studies of the Milwaukee schools to determine if such factors, concerning school building climate, being embarked upon by New York City Schools, were present in Milwaukee’s schools (Reaves, 2000, Moir, 2006, Hanushek et al, 2004). 

(5)  Longitudinal studies concerning the traits associated by statute with being a highly qualified teacher and teacher efficacy (Walsh, O’Tracey, 2004)

 (6) A commission, similar to those in the 1980’s and 1990’s, bringing together federal, business, state government, and educational leaders to discuss, analyze, and make recommendations to the United States Congress concerning the efficacy of the 2001 NCLB mandates regarding teacher quality in districts that are typically hard to staff.

More to follow!

Senate Bill to Defund Fails – Backed By DEM POTUS Candidates

From the AP.

WASHINGTON — Anti-war Democrats in the Senate failed in an attempt to cut off funds for the Iraq war on Wednesday, a lopsided bipartisan vote that masked growing impatience within both political parties over President Bush’s handling of the four-year conflict.

Don’t you love it when news reports editorialze. Make up your mind if you want to report or offer commentary!

The 67-29 vote against the measure left it far short of the 60 needed to advance. More than half the Senate’s Democrats supported the move, exposing divisions within the party but also marking a growth in anti-war sentiment from last summer, when only a dozen members of the rank and file backed a troop withdrawal deadline.

“It was considered absolute heresy four months ago” to stop the war, said Sen. Russell Feingold of Wisconsin, author of the measure to cut off funds for most military operations after March 31, 2008.

While there is a rise in the sentiment towards defunding and withdrawl, it seems that the Democratic Congress and Senate are still torn in two between a growing shift towards the hard left of their base, which is for immediate withdrawl “by any means necessary” and those who seem to have managed to have kept some level of sanity and understand that an immediate withdrawl would be a disaster of the highest order for the United States from a policy standpoint within the region, as well as for Iraq in its struggle to come to some semblance of order.

Ironically, the vote also cleared the way for the Democratic-controlled Congress to bow to Bush’s wishes and approve a war funding bill next week stripped of the type of restrictions that drew his veto earlier this spring.

If this does develop, it will be a fairly large political victory for the Administration. While the sentiment against a prolonged stay in Iraq is strong and rising, at the end of the day – or at the end of the Bush Presidency – it is still very likely that the United States will have troops in Iraq for the foreseeable future. Once the US invaded, it owned the problems of this country, and it there is no reason to believe that just as there are troops in Kosovo, South Korea, and Germany long after our military engagement ended, the same, for better or worse, is true about Iraq.

Democrats vowed in January to force an end to the war, and nowhere is the shift in sentiment more evident than among the party’s presidential contenders in the Senate.

For the first time, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Barack Obama of Illinois and Joe Biden of Delaware joined Sen. Chris Dodd in lending support to the notion of setting a date to end U.S. participation in the war.

Clinton, the Democrats’ presidential front-runner in most early polls, has adamantly opposed setting a date for a troop withdrawal, and she gave conflicting answers during the day when asked whether her vote signified support for a cutoff in funds.

“I’m not going to speculate on what I’ll be voting on in the future,” she said at midday. But a few hours later she said: “I support the … bill. That’s what this vote … was all about.”

This is a rather signficant development. All of the major contenders for the Democratic nod are now lined up four square in the anti-war posture of the base. For Senator Clinton, who for the most part has split her votes with and against the Administration it seems that her shift towards the left is to guard against a double flank movement by Sen. Obama and former Sen. Edwards. One thing is for certain, this vote will help her with the base, but may hurt her in the general election. While the base is all for getting out – NOW – the rest of the country wants to get out, and to do so by defunding the troops may not sell well with Blue Dog Democrats.

Huckabee Talking about VP Role

Have to find it interesting when a candidate for the President of the United States fields questions about whether or not he would be interested in serving as the VP of the US.  However, that is the case with Gov. Mike Huckabee.

In an interview given today, the former Baptist Pastor said that it would take “serious thought before he’d consider pairing with a candidate who supports a woman’s right to choose.”  This is obviously a reference to Rudy Giuliani, who after a strong showing in Tuesday’s SC Debate has likely solidified his position as the front runner.  Many pundits gave Huckabee high marks, and some had stated that he may be able to draw serious consideration as a Vice Presidential Candidate.

“While Huckabee did not specifically name rival Rudy Giuliani, who has said he is personally opposed to abortion but supports a woman’s right to choose. Huckabee has questioned that position.”

It seems that former Mayor Rudy Giuliani has managed to be to the right of the Democratic Party Candidates as his position has been drawing criticism from the Left, and he has also of course drawn tremendous criticism from the right with  more Conservative elements of the GOP.  It will be interesting to see if there is enough ground for the former mayor in the political center of this most polarizing of issues.

May 16, 2007

The GOP SC Debate Who Won – Who Lost

First off – This debate was multitudes better than  MSNBC.  Chris Matthews, whom I don’t hate, made the debate too much about him, and the format and questions were significantly better.  One thing that was still wrong is that there are about four or five too many in the pack.  However, the law of natural selection will weed out the field, it’s just taking too much time!

Here are some comments and the grades on the debate in no particular order.

Sen. McCain –  Strong on Iraq – “They’ll follow us home”.  The taxcuts – which he opposed – need to be permanent.  He is strongly opposed to “enhanced interrogation”.  He got a good laugh on his drunken sailor line.  He also showed a good deal of faith in the bipartisan working together of Congress – which has been lacking for awhile in Washington.  All in all, he seemed much less caffeinated than the last debate, and offered some answers.  Some of them just won’t sell to the base.  He and Romney got into a nice little tiff, which was encouraged by FOX.  Overall I’d say a solid B.

Gov. Thompson – Boy, you can tell this guy was a former health and human service guy, I mean his answer on stem cell research was thorough.  He would “require” Iraq to take certain steps with regard to forming provinces and a federation – but I’m not sure that the President of the US is able to write the system of government for another country, but it’s not a terrible idea.  The guy just doesn’t have pizzazz.  I think he’s hit his arc as a Secretary in the Cabinet, but at least he didn’t put his foot in his mouth as he did last time.  Grade of C and time to go home.

Gov. Romney – Didn’t get to hog the mike as he was allowed to on the MSNBC debate, but did well.  He is being painted as a lib and some of the base will likley remember this – and it may hurt him.  Sen. McCain’s comment about changing positions by year or office is meant for him and was a pretty good zinger.  He wants to put benchmarks on the economy and that idea sounds fairly good.  Not as good as last time and he took a few hit.  B+

Sen. Brownback – I have to say that I really “hated” his answer on abortion with a rape victim.  I know some may like his view, but I find it rather offensive.  I liked some of his remarks concerning energy have merit.  He would like to see more consensus with Iraq between Republicans and Democrats, which I would like too, as well as having a million dollars in my account.  He didn’t hit any out of the park, and his numbers won’t go up.  I just don’t see him as the next President.  Grade of C and time to go home.

Rep. Tancredo  – He was a good deal less nervous tonight, but still seems a bit on the squirrely side.  He would like to see some real cuts in Medicare and shelve NCLB.  He gets a good yuck on the conversions with Road to Des Moines when compared to Road to Damascus.  Much better than the first night, but still has no chance to win.  His campaign will die out from lack of oxygen.  Time to go home with your C+.

Mayor Giuliani – He was much better on the abortion issue with articulation of a clear policy – which we all knew.  He talks about his differences with Sen. Clinton on economic issues.  When it came to terrorism and defense he hit the ball out of the park and spanked Rep. Paul pretty soundly.  The crowd livened up and you can tell he was pretty angry at the remarks of Rep. Paul.  This will be the headline and the soundbite when he stepped in – not polite, but showing leadership.  He also had to love it when Sen. McCain and Gov. Romney were sniping at each other.  A very good night for Rudy, and he’ll get a bump after a few tough weeks.  B+/A-.

Rep. Paul  – Well the Fox snap phone poll has him winning, which shows you how unreliable those phone in polls are.  He is very different and very libertarian with regard to Iraq.  He may score points with some by saying US policies are part of the 9/11 equation, but that will not sell with the base.  At this time he is just serving comedic value. He may be toast with the base, but his non-GOP views may help him as a maverick, but he has no chance at all, not that he ever did.  Grade D and probably a note to go home.

Rep. Hunter –  A lot of the NAFTA and Free trade gang will hate this guy because he doesn’t want to tank our economoy to prop up Communist China.  I like this guy!  I like that his son was in Fallujah – speaks volumes about him.  He feels that Iraqis are starting to bear more of the burden of the war and this will increase.  I think he’s bucking for Sec Defense job. B+

Gov. Huckabee – The guy has a way of working the audience; I guess it comes with the preacher territory.  He scores the yuck of the night with the John Edwards haircut joke,  and makes a few pointed barbs with abortion and Giuliani’s position.  Overall he does well, he relates to the people well and may stay around after this debate.  Grade B+

Gov. Gilmore – Don’t send us to a website unless it is mine!  Gov. Gilmore takes the attack mode, going after the front runners labeling them as “Rudy McRomney”.  All this does is allow the front runners to have the opportunity to defend their positions.  He doesn’t really answer the questions too directly, and for that he may have hurt himself.  Grade D+ and a note to not come back to class.

Who helped themselves   Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter

Who got hurt Rep Paul, Gov. Gilmore, Gov. Thompson, Sen. Brownback, Rep. Tancredo

Who stayed pat – Sen. McCain, Gov. Romney

Hopefully, the field will be seven with four going out, and a presumed entrace of Sen. Thompson for the next round.  We’ll see.

May 15, 2007

Round Two of the GOP Debate Tonight!

Tonight will be the second round of the GOP debate.  This one will be hosted by FOX, with Brit Hume serving as moderator.  I would expect to see a bit more organized debate than Chris Matthews’ efforts two weeks ago.  I am also looking forward to not being treated to the insipid “online” questions from Politico.com.

With a field of ten there are still too many, but hopefully tonight the herd will be thinned out.  There are simply some candidates who may have a right to run, but are merely diversions.

Notably, the two who aren’t there may draw more attention than the ten who are there.  Fred Thompson and Newt Gringrich will not be in the fray as they have not yet announced.   We’ll be following the debate with interest and hope to find some snap polls – scientific ones – about who did the best.  Heck, that post I had from Survey USA was GOOD for traffic!

May 11, 2007

ABC Poll: Bush and Congress at 35%

From ABCNews

People think the Democratic-led Congress is doing just as dreary a job as President Bush, following four months of bitter political standoffs and little progress on Iraq and a host of domestic issues.

The survey found only 35 percent approve of how Congress is handling its job, down 5 percentage points in a month. That gives lawmakers the same bleak approval rating as Bush, who has been mired at about that level since last fall.

Maybe they’ll throw all the bums out. Might not be the worst thing that happened. Probably they will vote the same people back in and continue to moan and whine. Remember, in a Democratic Republic, you get the government you voted for, and deserve.

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