Tuesday, April 14, 2009
My advice to the President with regard to the Summit of the Americas is this, democracy and free trade is what made us the greatest Nation on earth and it is those same principles that will make the Americas prosper as well. We need the Columbia Free Trade Agreement. We need to promote democracy and make the people of the Americas feel that they are just as important to us as is Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
As I watched the spot-on parody of all-things “economy” and “bailout” on a recent South Park episode (see preview scenes and/or the whole episode here: http://www.southparkstudios.com/), I found myself thinking: Rush Limbaugh was right. Obama’s failures might be what the country really needs to see the foolishness of big government.
I didn’t agree with Limbaugh when he said it. I thought it was borderline un-patriotic – the same kind of unfair treatment that Republican-controlled government has received from the left, i.e. “I’m only proud of America, and only want good for America, when it’s run by liberals/Democrats.”
But a brilliant and funny cartoon television show has actually helped me see an angle on Rush’s inflammatory statement that makes sense. You see, I think we need to be starkly reminded of how clumsy, oafish and insulting big government can be before we can reject it in the next election cycle.
For those who haven’t seen the episode, “Margaritaville,” it is a comedic exploration of just how darned ridiculous Washington, D.C.’s handling of “The Economy” looks right now. One plot line portrays the development of a religious cult whose leader speaks of “The Economy” as if it were a deity whom we have deeply offended and are now suffering its vengeance. Meanwhile, another plot has us following one character (Stan) as he tries to return his father’s “Margaritaville” margarita-mixing machine for cash – an effort which takes him from mall store “Sur la Table,” all the way to the Treasury Department in Washington. Once inside the grand government building, Stan discovers that bailout decisions are, in fact, being made by cutting off a chicken’s head and waiting for the headless bird to run around and collapse on a giant game board that says things like “Socialize it,” “Bailout,” or “Try again.”
Watching the headless-chicken-bingo scene at the fictional Treasury Department was the moment where I thought, my goodness, this illustrates the very real, growing perception of how these huge decisions are being made. Tim Geithner might be the chicken. He even kind of looks like a chicken.
As is the style of all South Park episodes, the ultimate wisdom comes from the mouths of babes when one of the kids, Kyle, explains to his friends that the economy is not a deity, it’s not even a singular thing; it is, instead, an aggregate of all of us, all of our work, all of our spending, all of our businesses and investments.
Which is, well, correct.
This blinding glimpse of the obvious makes the worshippers of “The Economy” look ridiculous, kind of like the Wall-Street-worshipping turds and nerds we see on cable news who babble on about “the economy” without ever recognizing its complexity. Kyle’s simple truth also makes the fictional chicken-bingo game look like a rather accurate representation of the decision-making process in Washington of late.
The collective wisdom of the American people – let’s call it common sense – is simply bound to eventually conclude that relying on a select few mortals in Washington is a really foolish way of saving the economy. We are bound to grow tired of their silly games and turn back to what we know works: our own hard work, our own persistence (not the president’s), and our own innovation. We’re bound to take more of an interest in the things we can control ourselves – our own family’s budget, the budget of our small business if we own one – and turn away from the circus act that’s going on under the big top in Washington.
The more that Obama, Reid and Pelosi tread with heavy, expensive steps on American wallets and independence, the more we’ll miss the successful feeling of handling things on our own. We’re an independent lot, after all.
So Rush may have been right. Obama’s failures might just be the thing that re-ignites the spark of independence – the spark that we clearly need to once again make the city on the hill that is America shine on its own once again.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Some people say dreams are for those that sleep; but dreamers have the ability to build worlds others cannot see.
Republicans constantly talk about the “American dream,” but never define what that dream is and how their policies can help that dream become a reality. They constantly use the mantras of: less government, more individual freedom, lower taxes, etc.
The Obama administration and the current financial crises present a great opportunity for Republicans to define the dream to the nation.
But first, Republicans must define who they are. If they don’t know who they are, how can the American people?
Some Republicans describe the party as conservative. But even among conservatives there is no agreement as to what this means. Therein is the problem facing the Republican Party: who are they and why are they here?
If they are a conservative party, what are they trying to conserve? The Democrats have done an excellent job of defining conservatives and conservatism because the Republicans are too busy fighting each other.
If the Republicans are a conservative party, then they are saying that moderates and independents have no place in their worldview. A moderate or independent may be pro-choice or pro-affirmative action, but agree with the party on small government, lower taxes, and a strong defense.
But, Republicans spend all their time focusing on their disagreements on issues like abortion, race, religion, etc!
Before Republicans can talk to America, they must first talk to each other. If they can’t agree on what they stand for amongst themselves, how can they persuade the American people on who they are?
There will never be agreement within the party on abortion, race or religion; neither will there be agreement within the country.
As a whole, I think most Americans agree with the Republican’s position of workers keeping more of the money they earn. Republicans have allowed the Democrats to turn this into a class issue. Republicans will lose this argument every time. The party needs to focus tax cuts more on those making half a million dollars and less. They also must talk more to single taxpayers with no kids. This is an often ignored, but growing demographic.
The American people are with Republicans when it comes to having a smaller, more efficient government. But when Republicans speak, the American people hear “no government.” Thus, Republicans are blamed for the current financial mess.
Republicans have a great opportunity to show the country what is the legitimate role for the government relative to oversight of the financial markets. Up to now, their has been no leadership on this issue.
Americans are willing to be persuaded, but Republicans must present real solutions to real problems. If Republicans truly believe in their principles, when will they take them to the market place of ideas?
Will the party leadership place a pro-choice Republican who is experienced in all things financial as the point to lead the party’s response to the financial crisis? Will the party’s leadership place an anti “don’t ask, don’t tell” general as the point on all things military?
Will the Republican Party place a pro-affirmative action, pro-minority set aside Black businessman as the point on small business issues? I think you get my point.
Americans are willing to listen, provided Republicans have something to say. But, they can no longer scare Americans into voting Republican based on what people are against. If they are the party of less government, then they must stay away from issues like Elian Gonzalez and Terri Schiavo.
What is the Republican vision for preventing the financial crises from happening again? What is their response to the North Korea missile test? What is the Republican response to the seemingly endless shooting and harassment of innocent Blacks by rogue policemen (N.F.L. player Ryan Moats or Oscar Grant, who was shot in the back of the head in San Francisco by a policeman while lying on his stomach unarmed)? What is the Republican response to the one foot policy that allows “only” Cubans who touch U.S. soil to stay in the country, but send Haitians immediately back to Haiti?
If Republicans share their vision with the American people, maybe then they will have a reason to wake up!