Socialism, Taxes, and Sarah Palin’s Wardrobe Malfunction

If It’s Friday, It Must Mean Leftovers Again!

About Your Hero Teddy Roosevelt, Senator McCain

Never let it be said that I like to go taking away people’s lollipops or anything like that, but I feel that it is my civic duty to point something out to the esteemed senator from Arizona since he has developed this affinity for the S word, you know, SOCIALIST. Senator McCain has said on numerous occasions that his hero is Teddy Roosevelt, even though he mangled TR’s most famous quote, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

Teddy Roosevelt was a progressive who was known as a trust buster and believed in regulation. He was also the youngest president to take office at that time—only 42 years old. He was the first U.S. president to call for universal health care and national health insurance, and he was a strong conservationist. Roosevelt himself admits that he was often called a socialist:

Because of things I have done on behalf of justice to the workingman, I have often been called a Socialist. Usually I have not taken the trouble even to notice the epithet. … Moreover, I know that many American Socialists are high-minded and honorable citizens, who in reality are merely radical social reformers. They are opposed to the brutalities and industrial injustices which we see everywhere about us.

Roosevelt went on to make the distinction that many people who were called socialists were actually just people who were social reformers.

I find it interesting that this young man with such far-reaching ideas went on to become what many agree one of our better presidents, first as a Republican and then as a progressive who believed in graduated income tax. If you are interested in a really good read on what Teddy Roosevelt in a speech on New Nationalism in 1910 that is eerily reminiscent of what is going on today, go to this link: http://www.teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=501

It’s deja vu all over again.

“The Amendment Before the Senate is a Very Simple One”

This was John McCain speaking to the Senate in 1993 on the use of campaign funding for purchases of things such as clothing:  “It restricts the use of campaign funds for inherently personal purposes. The amendment would restrict individuals from using campaign funds for such things as home mortgage payments, clothing purchases  . . . and vacations or other trips that are non campaign in nature.”

Um, Senator, that was actually a pretty good proposal. What happened? Did the barracuda hypnotize you into believing that Needless Markup was a campaign stop?

So Senator McCain, any comment on $49,425.74 from Saks Fifth Avenue? Or how about that $75,062.63 shopping spree in early September? (wow, that’s a lot of black boots and a great leather coat) . . . Would you care to comment on $4,716.49 on hair and makeup expenditures in September? Or those September payments to Barney’s New York ($789.72) and Bloomingdale’s New York ($5,102.71). Actually, there is one line item to which I cannot take exception since I have been calling for the sprucing up of the Todder since day one, and that is the $4,902.45 that was spent in early September at Atelier, a high-class shopping destination for men. (I have noticed that Todders is wearing more suits and ties; good on you, Todders old boy).

But all of this shopping leaves me vicariously tired and more than a little envious, and, I have to say, quite puzzled. After all, if the campaign paid for this, does this mean that all of those wonderful people who sent in contributions to support the McCain campaign actually footed the bill for the outfitting of the Palin family? Hmmmm.

Do you think that those folks at home might be a little miffed by this news? After all, I know that if my little contributions to the Obama campaign had gone to buy the Senator a new pair of Ferragamo shoes instead of more yard signs, I might be just a wee bit put out, but then, I’m a Democrat and not a Republican, so maybe I really do think differently. Maybe Republican campaign contributors don’t mind that their money went towards buying one of the Palin daughters a Louis Vuitton purse, because, after all, isn’t that what all daughters on the campaign trail traveling illegally on the State of Alaska’s money are carrying? What do I know?

But, as a campaign spokeswoman said, all of the clothing will be donated to charity after the campaign. Um, okay. I cannot wait to see what happens when some underling comes to take away the clothes from the governator. That, my friends, will be worth the price of admission.

Sneaky, Sneaky, Sarah P.

I almost missed this on the interview that the governor and Senator McCain had on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. When pressed on the topic of terrorism, Governor Palin would not commit on whether or not bombing abortion clinics was domestic terrorism. She just kept repeating that what Bill Ayers did was domestic terrorism. She couched her answer very well by saying that anyone who threatens “innocent lives” is a terrorist, which is standard rhetoric for a pro-lifer. The threat to innocent lives in this case would be the actual abortion clinic. However, much to Palin’s chagrin, McCain did clarify quickly in a pass by saying that he did not condone bombing of anything, including abortion clinics.

Oooh, and don’t ask her if she’s a feminist either. I swear she twitched at that question. Why yes, she’s for equal rights, and all of that, dontcha know, but a feminist? She’s not a lesbian, gosh darn it, and she shaves her legs. What are you thinking, Mr. Brian Williams? Ahem.

What Qualifies as Experience?

In that same interview, John McCain brought up the Cuban Missile Crisis as proof that he has “been tested” on the world stage when it comes to dealing with international crises. During the CMC, McCain was a fighter pilot; his role? He was sitting in the cockpit of his jet on board the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Enterprise. He was awaiting orders. Now, I do not mean in any way to diminish his role as a fighter pilot; however, awaiting orders during the missile crisis while President Kennedy and his advisors were going toe-to-toe with Nikita Kruschev is hardly being directly involved in the negotiations to avert the crisis.

Maybe what McCain did learn from this crisis is that by being cool-headed and listening to your advisors, you can avert a national disaster and prevent a nuclear war. Maybe what Sarah Palin learned, in all of her vast reading is that it takes more than a nice suit and good shoes to have grace under fire. Kennedy, after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, had to have the courage of his convictions in the CMC. He had to make decisions with little time, and he had to second guess his opponent. He also had to go against the advice of many of his senior advisors based on what amounted to a pretty good hunch.

I’m sorry, but I just simply do not feel good about trusting my future to a woman who truly believes in an America full of us and thems. Her hunches would be more frightening than a tempest in a teapot. And John McCain has been standing on his record as a POW for so long that he no longer sees reality clearly. The man is a demagogue. Together, Palin and McCain scare the bejeezus out of me. Truly.  Talk about being tested within a year to see how well they hold up in a crisis . . . now that’s a mortifying proposition.

More later. Peace.

Barack Obama Comes to Richmond, Virginia

After Eight Years of Mangled English, Finally an Orator To Make Us Proud

Worth the Wait

We made the trip to Richmond yesterday to see Barack Obama speak at the Richmond Convention Center before an estimated crowd of 13,000. The line to get in stretched around the block on both sides of the building. Outside, it was like a Grateful Dead concert with hawkers selling t-shirts, hats, buttons, cotton candy, candied apples, and even recycled cotton shirts. If you didn’t see a button you liked, you just had to move a few feet, and look at someone else’s board, and odds-on, there would be one that would probably be more to your liking. There were police on horses for crowd control, and guys with sandwich boards standing next to the line, chatting while protesting. I didn’t see any McCain people, but maybe they weren’t on our side of the building.

Parking in the capital city was at a premium, and the parking police were having a field day. I was foolish enough to think that we would be able to get a space under the Convention Center, so I did not wear walking-friendly shoes. Not to worry though; I simply took off my boots, and walked in my socks most of the way there. (Since I spent most of my youth in bare feet, it really didn’t phase me; my family was a bit aghast, though. Why do things like that still surprise them?)

The Convention workers were trying their best, dontcha know, to move people up into the nosebleed section, but since I really can’t do stairs or heights, we bypassed them and moved to the floor where the action was. Obama was scheduled to begin at 12:15, but nothing started until 1:30. (Turns out, he was at a meeting with his foreign policy advisors and the press at the Jefferson Hotel, trying to clarify remarks made by Joe Biden regarding a possible test of Obama’s abilities once he is in office.*) The crowd was a bit restless, but not too impatient. After all, Obama was coming to a red state, and we were all probably going to be a part of history in the making. Who couldn’t wait for that?

Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia opened, and former Governor Mark Warner, who is running for Senate followed. But the undoubted star of the show was Senator Barack Obama. The crowd was electrified, and so was I. The man is a born orator. His cadence is natural, and he knows how to speak to a crowd. There is none of the stilted awkwardness that I sense in John McCain. Everything that I have seen on television when watching Obama is amplified when seeing him in person. He truly connects with his audience without being hammy or overwrought. It ended far too soon, and unfortunately, in the smash of people trying to get autographs and handshakes, neither Corey nor I were able to get close enough. Still, the aura of the man (I know that’s hokey) traveled, and we were really glad that we made the trip.

Favorites Parts of the Speech:

  • We are the United States of America. We are a nation that’s faced down war and depression; great challenges and great threats. And at each and every moment, we have risen to meet these challenges — not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as Americans. With resolve. With confidence. With that fundamental belief that here in America, our destiny is not written for us, but by us. That’s who we are, and that’s the country we need to be right now. 
  • There are no real or fake parts of this country. We are not separated by the pro-America and anti-America parts of this nation — we all love this country, no matter where we live or where we come from. There are patriots who supported this war in Iraq and patriots who opposed it; patriots who believe in Democratic policies and those who believe in Republican policies. The men and women from Virginia and all across America who serve on our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America —they have served the United States of America.
  • This country and the dream it represents are being tested in a way that we haven’t seen in nearly a century. And future generations will judge ours by how we respond to this test. Will they say that this was a time when America lost its way and its purpose? When we allowed the same divisions and fear tactics and our own petty differences to plunge this country into a dark and painful recession?
  • Or will they say that this was another one of those moments when America overcame? When we battled back from adversity by recognizing that common stake that we have in each other’s success?

  • I ask of you what’s been asked of the American people in times of trial and turmoil throughout our history. I ask you to believe — to believe in yourselves, in each other, and in the future we can build together. 

    Together, we cannot fail. Not now.

  • We can do this. Americans have done this before . . . .

    Now it falls to us. Together, we cannot fail. And I need you to make it happen. And if you stand with me, I promise you we will win this election, and then you and I — together — will change this country and change this world.

Yes, I’ll admit it, I was teary-eyed, cynic that I am. Leave me alone already.

Um, This is Awkward Joe:

I really don’t know what Senator Joe Biden meant when he said the following at a Seattle fundraiser on Sunday:

“Mark my words, it will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We’re about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

I think that he was tring to say that as a new president, Obama will face crises just as any new president will, but that’s not how it came out. It was almost a Sarah Palin moment, and of course, Sarah Palin loved it. Her response? “He told Democrat donors to mark his words – that there were ‘at least four or five scenarios’ that would place our country at risk in an Obama administration,” Palin said.  “I guess we’ve got to say, ‘Thanks for the warning, Joe!”

Obama’s camp tried to undo the damage by insisting that Biden was just reciting history and affirming that Obama’s is the man for the job. As for the man himself, at his meeting at the Jefferson Hotel, Obama said that “Joe sometimes engages in rhetorical flourishes, but I think that his core point is that the next administration’s going to be tested regardless of who it is.”

Still, it was a weird moment whatever the intent.

Correction

I made a mistake. I know, I know. I’m actually admitting it. Corey was stupefied, to say the least. I said that the last time Virginia went to a democrat was in 1976, during the Carter election. I was wrong. It was in 1964 during the Johnson election. Can you believe it? Not only did I make a mistake, but I actually put in print that I was wrong? Who woulda thunk it . . .

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