Thursday, January 31, 2008
It is Much Easier on the Democratic Side
The Democratic Party is surprisingly more united than the GOP in this election cycle. Despite the occasional Obama/Clinton mud slinging that is typical of campaigning, the Democratic candidates are rather united ideologically. Both Clinton and Obama take very similar positions on issues from health care to the war in Iraq. The fight on the Democratic side is not an ideological one, rather it's a popularity contest.
On the Republican side however, the fight is between the different factions of the Republican Party and the conservative movement as a whole. McCain, Huckabee, Romney and Paul, all represent a different facet of the Republican Party.
The McCain/Giuliani wing is what I call the neo conservative faction. Although not everyone may agree with this, Sen.McCain's foreign policy is of an interventionist and unilateral nature. He has been and still is an outspoken supporter of the war in Iraq and the fight against "radical Islamic extremism" is the dominant message of his campaign. His list of foreign policy advisers include names such as William Kristol , Robert Kagan and Randy Scheunemann, all outspoken neo conservatives.
Huckabee represents the evangelical wing of the party. The religious/evangelical wing of the GOP has enabled the Republicans to dominate Southern politics in recent years. They are also very influential in the Midwest and many western states such as Arizona and Nevada. The evangelical base is a very loyal segment of the Republican Party which has proven its political significance by showing huge turnouts in every major election for every major Republican candidate.
Romney represents the fiscally conservative wing. Despite his recent change of heart on many issues, the true Mitt Romney who lead in Massachusetts, was a secular and pragmatic Republican who came from a very successful business background.
And finally, Ron Paul. He is the libertarian side of the GOP. Despite his irrelevance on many issues, Paul has been able to attract the attention of many likely voters with his opposition to the war in Iraq and his support for an isolationist foreign policy.
The Democrats, myself included , have a much easier task. Whether it is going to be Barack or Hillary, the Democrats are united on almost all the issues. But the race on the GOP side is about core issues facing the party of Abraham Lincoln. Is the party going to be a religious party or a fiscally conservative one? Is it going to favor preemptive warfare or is it going to restrict American involvement around the world? This is a defining moment for the Republicans and their decision in 2008 will have long lasting effects for the party.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Are There Any Conservatives Left?
Rudy left the race too. Giuliani's departure and his endorsement of McCain would embolden McCain's already prominent position in the race. His victory in the winner takes all contests in Florida has given him more confidence to believe that he can become the Republican presidential nominee in 2008. I hear my conservative friends describing the current Republican field as"very diverse". I hear "...Republican voters had many options to choose from". Really? I don't think so.
The Republican field had a Libertarian, a liberal, a neo conservative, a convert, an evangelical and a few irrelevant contenders. But what the GOP field lacked was a true CONSERVATIVE. Someone like Ronald Reagan who was for low taxes, small government, socially conservative values and a firm belief in free markets. Reagan embodied what a true conservative should be like.
Is there anyone in the race today who has all those qualities? You may say that Romney comes very close. Yes, but Romney has also been a flamboyant advocate of gay rights, abortion, and gun control when it served him politically. Romney is the convert. And many doubt his sincerity.
What the GOP field didn't have and continues to lack is a true conservative. After Rudy's departure, the race is between McCain, Romney, Huckabee and Paul. Paul and Huckabee have no real chance of winning the primaries so the GOP must pick between a liberal and a convert.
As I write this piece, the GOP candidates are debating only a very short distance away from me at the Reagan Library. I am not watching the live broadcast of the debate but I am sure that Reagan's name will be mentioned many many times tonight by the candidates. It is up to the voters to pick between the candidates while asking themselves the following questions:
Can we trust McCain? Can we trust Romney? Who would be a better fit for the needs of a Republican Party so devastated by Bush's leadership? This election may decide the relevance of the Republican Party in American politics for many years to come. So choose carefully my friends, choose carefully.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Who Won the Debate Tonight?
The GOP debate in Florida turned out to be more civil than expected. Despite fierce competition between McCain, Romney and Giuliani , the debate went on without any personal attacks as we saw a few nights ago on the Democratic side. So who was the winner of tonight's debate?
Romney has been moving up steadily in the polls while Giuliani has managed to lose his lead and is now trailing in third place after Romney and McCain. Romney did a great job tonight, while staying away from direct attacks he managed to focus on his record as a true conservative.
McCain and Huckabee exchanged a few friendly remarks and McCain praised Giuliani on his leadership after 9/11. So, who won? I'd say Hillary Clinton! She was mentioned in this debate more than Ronald Reagan. She is the right's boogie man or to be politically correct, boogie woman! The right hates nothing more than the Clintons back in the White House. Although Hillary Clinton does not really represent the left wing of the Democratic party, yet the Republicans despise the Clintons for their political skill, sleekness and Bill's successful presidency of 8 years. They don't hate Hillary for her tax policies now as much as for her involvement in policy making as the first lady. After all she deified the traditional role of the first lady while Bill was in office.
So she was mentioned several times at the GOP debate. Why? To mobilize the Republican base who passionately dislikes the idea of Hillary Clinton as the Commander in Chief. So Berkeley Forum declares Hillary Clinton the winner of tonight's debate. She received free air time and was presumed to be the Democratic nominee.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
MLK Holiday & Human Rights Assessment of the Candidate's Health Care Plans
While today in our city Martin Luther King Parade Brought Community Out To Remember & Celebrate, many reflected on the true legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr as a leader with conviction and passion for civil rights and human rights as it is important to take the meaning of this day further than an exercise in platitudes and official declarations from the White House the State House or City Hall and ask the candidates some tough questions such as what are they really doing to address, in Dr. King's words, "the shocking injustice" that is our health care system? Are they seriously committed to protecting our health? Their health care proposals to date suggest otherwise.
The National Economic and Social Rights Initiative and the National Health Law Program have assessed the candidates' plans,using a framework based on the human right to health care. The results are a wake up call: Anja Rudiger, Right to Health Program Director believes that "we need to tell candidates to stop treating us as consumers who can choose to buy or forgo health care. Instead, they must put forward plans for real change: for universal access to quality care for all, on an equitable basis" and I agree with her!
To read the assessment, visit
In Search of Cyrus the Great
With the presence of world's most renowned scholars and top performing artists
on January 26, 2008 at (7.00PM)
" In Search of Cyrus the Great" is a factually-based documentary film
in need of your help and participation.
Date: Saturday January 26, 2008 (7:00 PM)
Thompson Finally Leaves the Race
Fred Thompson is finally gone. He made an announcement today and left the race to those who are serious about running for the Republican nomination. I never understood the hype when Thompson decided to run. He was not a very well known politician and he certainly was not a world class celebrity. What he had going for him were some similarities that his supporters drew to an Ronald Reagan. That Thompson was an actor just like Reagan and that he is tall as was Reagan and that he was a true conservative who could unify the party.
Thompson proved to be none of the above. He could barely meet expectations with his poor performances in the GOP debates. He did not have a clear message and did a poor job campaigning in the early states.
I still don't know why some seasoned political observers considered Thompson to have a good chance at winning the nomination. He never had a shot at it. In a Republican field dominated by Romney's money, McCain's appeal and Huckabee's evangelicalism , Thompson could only get the crumbs . This country does not need lazy politicians or lazy presidents. we don't need someone " lazy like a fox" as Newsweek put it. We need a uniter, a hard worker and an American hero who understand the daily lives of middle class Americans.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Huckabee and the Grand Dragon
Today was Martin Luther King day. A holiday not well received in many parts of our country. It saddens me to learn that racial bigotry still plays a role in our presidential election. When Mike Huckabee announced his candidacy for seeking the Republican nomination, I was the only one among my friends who had ever hear of him. You might ask me what does Huckabee have anything to do with MLK? I will tell you.
I saw Huckabee as a very likable guy, someone form humble roots and self made man who had risen to the top in his state of Arkansas. Huckabee had also lost over 100 pounds to prove that even a southerner can say no to fried food!
At any rate, Huckabee was never my favorite candidate. I never thought of voting for him , mainly because of his religious fanaticism but I found him to be a genuine man, someone who knew what it means to be poor and not have loads of money and special privilege.
But Huckabee went to South Carolina and turned us all off. He said the unimaginable. Huckabee was supposed to be "...the kind of conseravtive who wasn't mad at anybody...". Well I guess not. As Huckabee went to South Carolina, he started making the most insulting remarks a decent man could make. He began defending the Confederate flag and how no one should mess with it! Really Mike, Because I never thought you sympathized with the Confederates and I know you Don't. So why now? Just to win votes? What's next? Photo op with David Duke and the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan?
Sunday, January 20, 2008
As the primary season continues, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) proves to be a viable candidate for the Republican nomination. He is well seasoned in foreign policy, a former POW and a decorated war hero. McCain is certainly a man of principle. He has voted against his own party on a variety of issues from immigration to campaign finance reform laws. McCain has proven to vote his conscience on issues like torture and treatment of war detainees.
With his victory in South Carolina, McCain has defeated the GOP establishment once again, an establishment that has never been that friendly towards Arizona's senior senator. McCain's early win in New Hampshire and the momentum he gained from that win, has aided his rise to the top. His slide in poll numbers this past summer and a major lack of funds in his campaign's war chest worried many observers that the 71 year old senator's dream of presidency was never going to be realized. After all, Arizona senators have a tendency of NOT becoming presidents. Barry Goldwater, the legendary conservative leader of the Senate and the GOP presidential nominee in 1964, ran a terrible campaign and lost to President Johnson in a land slide. McCain occupies the very same seat. As Arizona's senior senator, he may finally have the chance to make history, to be the first president from Arizona and also the oldest man to ever hold the top job. Yes, if elected, McCain would be 72 on inauguration day, beating Reagan by two years!