Tag Archives: Americans

Those Angry Bird Republicans!

Have you ever played Angry Birds?  You know,  that famous game that almost everyone seems to be playing on their iPads, iPhones, Android tablets, Kindle Fires, and Nooks. Well, I contend that the Republican Presidential Candidates are acting like those Angry Birds.  If you don’t know the game, here’s the backstory:  apparently some pigs have stolen the eggs of the birds, so now they are really angry.  To get them back  (Don’t laugh; this is true!) —they launch themselves via giant slingshot at the pigs in an attempt to destroy the pigs and get their eggs back.  See, (to follow the analogy) the Republicans see Barack Obama as having stolen something they once owned–the Presidency, and they furiously and persistently  aim to get it back.  What’s curious, however, is instead of launching themselves at the President (though they occasionally do that, as well) they seem to be attacking one another on a more regular basis.  Though instead of attacking President Obama, they’re attacking one another–fellow Republicans.  This of course, violates former President Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment, “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.”

What are the Republicans saying about each other?  Well, I scoured the Internet, and watched about 5-6 Republican debates over the last month or so (including the final two, yesterday and today)  Here are the results:

ATTACKS  ON  RICK  SANTORUM:

Rick Perry –Jan 2–In an interview with MSNBC, Perry said Santorum is a “serial pork-barrel earmarker” who has “proven he can’t win races.”

Mitt Romney—-Like Speaker Gingrich, Sen. Santorum has spent his career in government, in Washington,” Romney said during an event Saturday night in Atlantic, Iowa. “Nothing wrong with that, but it’s a very different background than I have.”

Michelle Bachman attacks Santorum—Jan. 1 ABC News

If you look at the spending issue, Sen. Santorum voted for the bridge to nowhere,” Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Santorum has stood for earmarks, stood for spending.”

Rick Perry attacks Santorum “Why was it important to vote for a Montana Sheep Institute?” Gov. Rick Perry said on “Fox News Sunday.

Jan2, 2012—Paul against Santorum–Before a rally at the Marriott hotel here, Paul charged that Santorum is “very liberal” because of his votes in Congress. “He spends too much money,” the Texas congressman said.

Jan 7—Paul attacks Santorum

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Paul, let’s stay on the issue of records. You’ve got a new ad up in South Carolina taking direct aim at Senator Santorum. You call him a corrupt — a corporate lobbyist, a Washington insider with a record of betrayal. You also call him corrupt in that ad.

Ron Paul–what really counts is his record. I mean, he’s a big government, big spending individual. Because, you know, he preached to the fact he wanted a balanced budget amendment but voted to raise the debt to five times. So he is a big government person.

Ron Paul—So you’re a big spender; that’s all there is to it. You’re a big-government conservative. And you don’t vote for, you know, right to work and these very important things. And that’s what weakens the economy. So to say you’re a conservative, I think, is a stretch. But you’ve convinced a lot of people of it, so somebody has to point out your record.

Ron Paul……back to Senator Santorum, you know, he ducks behind this — he’s for this balanced budget amendment, but voted five times to increase the national debt by trillions of dollars. This is what the whole Tea Party movement’s about…….When — I mean, government’s practically stopped over increasing the national debt. You did it five times. So what’s your excuse for that? That’s trillions of dollars. You kept this thing going.

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ATTACKS  ON  RON  PAUL

Dec. 28, 2011 –Assoc. Press—Attack by Romney and Perry against Paul

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) — Mitt Romney and Rick Perry on Wednesday assailed Republican presidential rival Ron Paul for saying the U.S. has no business bombing Iran to keep it from acquiring a nuclear weapon, drawing a sharp contrast with their rising rival as he returned to Iowa to campaign before the lead-off caucuses.

“One of the people running for president thinks it’s okay for Iran to have a nuclear weapon,” Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, said in this eastern Iowa city in response to a question from the audience. “I don’t.”

It was the first time Romney has challenged Paul directly since the Texas congressman jumped in polls. Neither Romney nor Perry, the Texas governor, named Paul, but the target was clear.

“You don’t have to vote for a candidate who will allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Because America will be next,” Perry said in Urbandale, reiterating a line of argument from a day earlier.

“I’m here to say: You have a choice,” Perry added

Newt Gingrich, called Ron Paul’s views “totally outside the mainstream of every decent American” during an interview with CNN.

Gingrich said the primary is giving voters a “choice between a populist supply side approach … and a much more timid Washington-centered approach that will not create jobs.”

Bachmann, She accused Perry of spending “27 years as a political insider.” He was a Texas legislator and agriculture commissioner before becoming governor in 2001.

Bachmann said Paul would be “dangerous as president” because of his hands-off views on national security.

Rick Santorum told an Iowa crowd “he blamed Paul for automated “robocalls” that claimed he was pro-abortion and against the Second Amendment, The Huffington Post reported, both stances the social conservative says he is against.

Tuesday morning on “Fox and Friends,” Santorum said “Ron Paul is disgusting” for being behind the calls.

Newt Gingrich attacks Paul–Newt Gingrich, who Paul has been aggressive in labeling a serial hypocrite in previous ads,  told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday that he could not support Paul if he won the Republican nomination, adding his “views are totally outside the mainstream of virtually every decent American.”

Michelle Bachman attacks Paul—  “Ron Paul doesn’t believe the government should protect the inst Dec. 17—Wash. Post–Spencer, Iowa—

Rick PerryDuring a midday campaign stop at an Italian restaurant, Perry accused Newt Gingrich of being the “granddaddy of earmarks” while he was House speaker. He also called Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) a hypocrite for condemning political gamesmanship while seeking federal funds for pet projects such as bike racks and “decorative street lights” in his district.

“For some people, earmarks have become an art form,” Perry said. “What we need is someone who will walk into Washington, D.C., and say no to all this special-interest funding.”

Rick Santorum—Jan. 8–Well, let me first address Congressman Paul, because the — the serious issue with Congressman Paul here is you’re right. He’s never really passed anything of any — any import.

And one of the — one of the reasons people like Congressman Paul is his economic plan. He’s never been able to accomplish any of that. He has no track record of being able to work together. He’s been out there on the — on the margins and has really been unsuccessful in — in working together with anybody to do anything.

The problem is that what Congressman Paul can do as commander-in- chief is he can on day one do what he says he wants to do, which is pull all our troops back out of seas, overseas, put them here in America, leave us in a — in a — in a situation where the world is now going to be created — huge amounts of vacuums all over the place, and have folks like China and Iran and others. …….

The problem with Congressman Paul is, all the things that Republicans like about him he can’t accomplish and all the things they’re worried about, he’ll do day one. And — and that’s the problem.

Rick Perry—Jan. 7– I mean, here’s what frustrates me, is that you go get the earmarks and then you vote against the bill? Now, I don’t know what they call that in other places, but, Congressman Paul, in Texas, we call that hypocrisy.

Newt Gingrich—Well, Dr. Paul has a long history of saying things that are inaccurate and false.

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ATTACKS  ON  NEWT  GINGRICH:

By MACKENZIE WEINGER 1/4/12 —Politico—Ron Paul on Gingrich

“Ron Paul came out swinging Wednesday against Newt Gingrich for calling him a dangerous candidate, dubbing Gingrich a chickenhawk who avoided the Vietnam War.”

“I don’t want to fight a war that’s unconstitutional and I’m the dangerous person? You know, when Newt Gingrich was called to service in the 1960s during the Vietnam era, guess what he thought about danger? He chickened out on that, he got deferments and didn’t even go,” Paul said on CNN later in the morning.

“So right now he sends these young kids over there to endure the danger, and the kids coming back, the young people coming back and the ones in the military right now, they overwhelmingly support my campaign. We get twice as much support from active military personnel than all the other candidates put together. So, Newt Gingrich has no business talking about danger because he is putting other people in danger. Some people call that kind of a program a chickenhawk and I think he falls into that category,” Paul said.

Gingrich’s history gives rivals fodder By Philip Elliott, Associated Press  12-7-2011

“ Ron Paul rolled out a hard-hitting TV ad in Iowa that uses Gingrich’s own words to accuse him of “serial hypocrisy.”

“If you want to put people in jail, let’s look at the politicians who created the environment, the politicians who profited from the environment,” Gingrich is shown saying in the ad. It casts him as a Washington insider who espoused conservative principles as House speaker only to profit from special interests when he became a high-dollar consultant.”

Mitt Romney  attacking Gingrich —-“If the American people believe that what we need is someone who has spent the last 40 years or so in Washington, D.C., working as an insider, why, he’s the right guy.”

And Romney added: “America needs a leader, not someone who’s an insider.”

Wikipedia reported that on October 18, 2011 in Las Vegas, “Newt Gingrich was attacked by all the other candidates, squaring off in particular with Mitt Romney. Romney mocked Gingrich’s plan to build a lunar colony to mine minerals from the moon, saying that the real difference between the two of them was their backgrounds, saying “I spent my life in the private sector. I know how the economy works.” Gingrich replied, “Let’s be candid. The only reason you didn’t become a career politician is you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994“, which drew boos and laughter from the audience.”

Oct. 18, 2011—Debate–ROMNEY: Actually, Newt, we got the idea of an individual mandate from you.

Romney against Santorum and Gingrich–“Like Speaker Gingrich, Sen. Santorum has spent his career in government, in Washington,” Romney said during an event Saturday night in Atlantic, Iowa. “Nothing wrong with that, but it’s a very different background than I have.”

Dec. 17—Wash. Post–Spencer, Iowa–Perry attacks Gingrich and Paul —During a midday campaign stop at an Italian restaurant, Perry accused Newt Gingrich of being the “granddaddy of earmarks” while he was House speaker. He also called Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) a hypocrite for condemning political gamesmanship while seeking federal funds for pet projects such as bike racks and “decorative street lights” in his district.

“For some people, earmarks have become an art form,” Perry said. “What we need is someone who will walk into Washington, D.C., and say no to all this special-interest funding.”

Ron Paul’s December 28 Ad–Paul attacks Romney and Gingrich—Politicians who supported bailouts and mandates (shows pictures of Gingrich and Romney) “Serial hypocrites and flipfloppers can’t clean up the mess.”

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 ATTACKS  ON  RICK  PERRY:

Romney attacking Perry–On Perry’s jobs record: from The Telegraph—California Debate, Sept, 2011
“Texas is a great state. Texas has zero income tax. Texas has a right-to-work state, a Republican legislature, a Republican Supreme Court. Texas has a lot of oil and gas in the ground. Those are wonderful things, but Governor Perry doesn’t believe that he created those things. If he tried to say that, well, it would be like Al Gore saying he invented the Internet.”  –Suggesting Perry was taken credit for events in Texas that he had nothing to do with creating.

Rick Santorum—about Romney, Cain, and Perry– Oct. 8, 2011 Debate—CNN transcript So you — you supported it. Governor Romney and Herman Cain all supported the — the TARP program, which started this ball……I mean, I — I mean, you guys complain about Governor Romney flip-flopping. I mean, look at what’s going on here. I mean, the — the bottom line is, you all supported it, you all started this ball rolling, where the government injected itself in trying to make — trying to fix the market with the government top-down trying to do it, and (ph) managed decline. And what happened was, people who did things that were wrong invested in things, took risks, were bailed out, and the folks who acted responsibly are now getting hurt because their houses have gone down in value. We need to let the market work, and that’s what hasn’t been happening so far.

Mitt Romney  attacking Perry: And the reason we’re so animated about stopping illegal immigration is there are 4.5 million people who want to come here who are in line legally, we want that to happen in an orderly and legal process. And in terms of how to secure the border, it’s really not that hard.. And, Governor Perry, you say you have got the experience. It’s a bit like saying that, you know, the college coach that has lost 40 games in a row has the experience to go to the NFL

John Huntman –This Week—August 22, 2011About Perry’s comments on evolution and global warming “The minute the Republican party becomes the… anti-science party, we have a huge problem.”  When you find yourself at an extreme end of the Republican party, you make yourself unelectable.

Mitt Romney attacks Perry–“Over the past decade, the number of illegal immigrants in Texas is estimated to have grown by 60 percent. Governor Perry should explain to the people of New Hampshire why he thinks their opposition to his liberal immigration policies means they ‘don’t have a heart,’ ” said Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams, alluding to comments Mr. Perry made last month in a defense of his decision to sign the in-state tuition bill into law.

Michelle Bachmann accused Perry of spending “27 years as a political insider.” He was a Texas legislator and agriculture commissioner before becoming governor in 2001.”

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ATTACK  ON  JON  HUNTSMAN:

Mitt Romney—Jan 8—I just think it’s most likely that the person who should represent our party running against President Obama is not someone who called him a remarkable leader and went to be his ambassador in China.

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ATTACKS  ON  MITT   ROMNEY:

RICK PERRY, attacking Romney—Debate from The Telegraph—California Debate, Sept, 2011

On Mitt Romney’s jobs record:
“He did a great job of creating jobs in the private sector all around the world. But the fact is, when he moved that experience to government, he had one of the lowest job creation rates in the country. The fact is while he has a good private- sector record, his public-sector record did not match that. As a matter of fact, we created more jobs in the last three months in Texas than he created in four years in Massachusetts.”

“Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt,” said Mr Perry, referring to the former liberal Democratic governor of Massachusetts who lost the 1988 presidential election.

Mr Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and venture capitalist, retorted citing the governor Mr Perry succeeded in Texas in 2000: “George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, governor.”

Gingrich: Romney is lying—CNN Politics—Jan. 3, 2012

(CNN) – Newt Gingrich took his condemnation of rival Mitt Romney to a new level Tuesday, saying the former Massachusetts governor was not being honest when claiming that he had no relation to a super PAC producing anti-Gingrich television ads.

Asked by CBS host Norah O’Donnell if he would call Mitt Romney a liar, Gingrich answered flatly “Yes.”

“This is a man whose staff created the PAC and his millionaire friends fund the PAC and it’s baloney,” Gingrich continued. “He’s not telling the American people the truth. Here’s a Massachusetts moderate who has tax-paid abortions in Romneycare and puts Planned Parenthood in Romneycare and raises hundreds of millions of dollars and appoints liberal judges and wants the rest of us to believe he’s somehow magically a conservative.”

Gingrich said Romney needed to be honest with voters about his record.

“I think he ought to be honest with the American people and try to win as the real Mitt Romney and not consultant-guided version that goes with talking points. I don’t think he’s being candid and that will be a major issue,” Gingrich said.

Dec. 16–Mitt Romney was asked by Chris Wallace last night about his flip-flops on gun and gay rights issues. Romney explained his position, and then Rick Santorum came after him.

“[He] ordered people to issue gay marriage licenses. And went beyond that. He personally, as governor, issued gay marriage licenses. I don’t think that is an accurate representation of his position saying tolerance versus substantively changing the laws.”—-Towleroad
Wikipedia–October 18, 2011 – Las Vegas, Nevada

Mitt Romney squared off separately with Rick Santorum and Rick Perry. Santorum attacked Romney over his health care reform initiative in Massachusetts, saying, “You just don’t have credibility… your consultants helped Obama craft Obamacare.” Romney replied “the Massachusetts plan… was something crafted for a state… if I’m president of the United States, I will repeal [Obamacare] for the American people”.[22] Perry, whose performance was seen as an improvement over past debates, attacked Romney because he hired a lawn service using illegal immigrants; Perry said, “The idea that you stand here before us and talk about that you’re strong on immigration is on its face the height of hypocrisy.” Romney replied that after they found out the company used illegal immigrants, they let them go, criticising Perry’s tuition credit for the children of illegal immigrants, adding that “If there’s someone who has a record as governor with regards to illegal immigration that doesn’t stand up to muster, it’s you, not me.”

Newt Gingrich  about Romneycare……… Oct. 8, 2011 Debate—CNN transcript..”But your plan essentially is one more big government, bureaucratic, high-cost system, which candidly could not have been done by any other state because no other state had a Medicare program as lavish as yours, and no other state got as much money from the federal government under the Bush administration for this experiment. So there’s a lot as big government behind Romneycare. Not as much as Obamacare, but a heck of a lot more than your campaign is admitting.

Rick Santorum- Oct. 8, 2011 Debate—CNN transcript -I didn’t run as a liberal in 1994. I ran in 1994, the same year Mitt did in Massachusetts. He ran as a liberal, to the left of Kennedy, and lost. I ran as a conservative against James Carville and Paul Begala, and I won.

In 2002, he ran as a moderate. He ran as a moderate in — in Massachusetts. I ran for re-election having sponsored and passed welfare reform, having authored the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.

Rick Perry about Romney– Oct. 8, 2011 Debate—CNN transcript They’re looking for somebody that they trust, that knows has the executive governing experience. I’ve got it. You failed as the governor of Massachusetts.

June, 2011—Tim Pawlenty”—–President Obama said that he designed Obamacare after Romneycare and basically made it Obamneycare,” the former Minnesota governor said on “Fox News Sunday

Rick Perry—-If you want to know how someone’s going to act in the future, look how they act in the past. I mean, so, Mitt, while you were the governor of Massachusetts in that period of time, you were 47th in the nation in job creation.

October 19, 2011–In Tuesday night’s Las Vegas debate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry answered a question about uninsured children in his state by attacking former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romneyfor once having undocumented immigrants at work on his lawn.

“And Mitt, you lose all of your standing, from my perspective, because you hired illegals in your home and you knew about it for a year,” Perry said, in a total non-sequiter.

Dec. 18–

Perry’s Attacks Vary Daily

Iowa Crowds Like Perry’s Message of Smaller Government, Lower Taxes

By Rebecca Kaplan—December 18, 2011 | 6:17 p.m.

Rick Perry—“I want to make a clear distinction between myself and Governor Romney,” Perry said, noting that the two were both serving as governors in the early 2000s. He had just wrapped up a description of how he cut the Texas budget by cutting spending before turning to the former governor of Massachusetts. “He took a different path. He scoured his tax code looking for those ways to increase corporate taxes rather than cutting the budget. He succeeded in finding the ways to raise taxes and he raised taxes by some 400 million dollars in Massachusetts,” Perry said. He said Romney, “put it on the backs of Massachusetts job creators.”

“Perry quoted from a Forbes article about Gingrich’s speakership that said both federal spending and debt increased during his tenure, and that one of the ways he balanced the budget was by employing “shameless accounting gimmicks” like borrowing from the Social Security trust fund.”

“Those of you who are wondering what happened to the Social Security trust fund? Here’s part of it right here,” Perry told the crowd.

Washington Times—Oct. 28—Perry attacking Romney–The idea that you stand here before us and talk about that you’re strong on immigration is, on its face, the height of hypocrisy,” Mr. Perry said.

Mr. Perry labeled Mr. Romney a “finger-in-the-wind” politician, after he appeared to suggest he would not take a position on a controversial referendum in Ohio that would limit collective bargaining rights of public employee unions.

SuperPac Ad–Huntsman attacks Romney–“Two serious candidates remain,” the narrator says after images of the GOP’s onetime front-runners flit across the screen, ending in a dual shot of Romney and Huntsman. “One willing to say anything, be anything, one who can actually do the job.”

After touting Huntsman’s job creation record in Utah, the narrator of the Our Destiny PAC concludes: “One state can stop the chameleon.”

Paul’s December 28 Ad–Paul attacks Romney and Gingrich—Politicians who supported bailouts and mandates (shows pictures of Gingrich and Romney “Serial hypocrites and flipfloppers can’t clean up the mess.”

Associated Press | Posted: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 —Newt Gingrich called Romney a “Massachusetts moderate who, in fact, is pretty good at managing the decay.” He said the ex-governor has “given no evidence in his years in Massachusetts of any ability to change the culture or change the political structure.”

Newt Gingrich called Mitt Romney a “liar” on CBS News Tuesday morning, a couple of days after he said he was “Romney-boated” by what he said are $3.5 million attack ads by political groups supporting the former Massachusetts governor.”He’s not telling the American people the truth. It’s just like his pretense that he’s a conservative,” Gingrich said. ” Here’s a Massachusetts moderate who has tax-paid abortions in ‘Romneycare,’ puts Planned Parenthood in ‘Romneycare,’ raises hundreds of millions of dollars of taxes on businesses, appoints liberal judges to appease Democrats, and wants the rest of us to believe somehow he’s magically a conservative.”

Oct. 8, 2011 Debate—CNN transcript.—Santorum –The final point I would make to Governor Romney, you just don’t have credibility, Mitt, when it comes to repealing Obamacare. You are — you are — your plan was the basis for Obamacare. Your consultants helped Obama craft Obamacare. And to say that you’re going to repeal it, you just — you have no track record on that that — that we can trust you that you’re going to do that. …..What you did is exactly what Barack Obama did: focused on the wrong problem. Herman always says you’ve got to find the right problem. Well, the right problem is health care costs. What you did with a top-down, government-run program was focus on the problem of health care access. You expanded the pool of insurance without controlling costs. You’ve blown a hole in the budget up there. And you authored in Obamacare, which is going to blow a hole in the budget of this country.

Jan. 8 Debate

Newt Gingrich–And I think that a bold Reagan conservative, with a very strong economic plan, is a lot more likely to succeed in that campaign than a relatively timid, Massachusetts moderate who even the Wall Street Journal said had an economic plan so timid it resembled Obama.  So I think you’ve got to look at — you know, Massachusetts was fourth from the bottom in job creation under Governor Romney. We created 11 million jobs while I was speaker, and I worked with Governor — with President Reagan in the entire recovery of the 1980s. So I just there’s a huge difference between a Reagan conservative and somebody who comes out of the Massachusetts culture with an essentially moderate record who I think will have a very hard time in a debate with President Obama.

Rick Santorum–Well, if his record was so great as governor of Massachusetts, why didn’t he run for re-election? I mean, if you didn’t want to even stand before the people of Massachusetts and run on your record, if it was that great, why didn’t — why did you bail out?……..I mean, the bottom — the bottom line is, you know, I go and fight the fight. If it was that important to the people of Massachusetts that you were going to go and fight for them, at least you can stand up and — and make the battle that you did a good job……..Governor Romney lost by almost 20 points. Why? Because at the end of that campaign, he wouldn’t stand for conservative principles. He ran from Ronald Reagan. And he said he was going to be to the left of Ted Kennedy on gay rights, on abortion, a whole host of other issues.We want someone, when the time gets tough — and it will in this election — we want someone who’s going to stand up and fight for the conservative principles, not bail out and not run, and not run to the left of Ted Kennedy.

Newt Gingrich—-…Can we drop a little bit of the pious baloney? The fact is, you ran in ’94 and lost. That’s why you weren’t serving in the Senate with Rick Santorum. The fact is, you had a very bad re- election rating, you dropped out of office, you had been out of state for something like 200 days preparing to run for president. You didn’t have this interlude of citizenship while you thought about what you do. You were running for president while you were governor. You were going all over the country. You were — you were out of state consistently.  You then promptly re-entered politics. You happened to lose to McCain as you had lost to Kennedy.  Now you’re back running. You have been running consistently for years and years and years. So this idea that suddenly citizenship showed up in your mind, just level with the American people. You’ve been running for — at least since the 1990’s.

Jon Huntsman attacking Romney–After Romney said, “I just think it’s most likely that the person who should represent our party running against President Obama is not someone who called him a remarkable leader and went to be his ambassador in China.” Huntsman fired back, “This nation is divided, David, because of attitudes like that. (APPLAUSE)   The American people are tired of the partisan division. They have had enough.”

Newt Gingrich attacking Romney– But if you look at “The New York Times” article, I think it was on Thursday, you would clearly have to say that Bain, at times, engaged in behavior where they looted a company, leaving behind 1,700 unemployed people. That’s “The New York Times.”

Moderator—Speaker, you — you — you decry the Washington establishment and you just talked about “The New York Times” and “The Washington Post.” You have agreed with the characterization that Governor Romney is a liar.   Look at him now. Do you stand by that claim?

NEWT GINGRICH—Well, sure. Governor, I wish you would calmly and directly state it is your former staff running the PAC. It is your millionaire friends giving to the PAC. And you know some of the ads are — aren’t true. Just say that. It’s straightforward.

Jan. 7 Debate

Rick Santorum attacking Romney Well, business experience doesn’t necessarily match up with being the commander-in-chief of this country.

Rick Santorum–I don’t think Governor Romney’s plan is particularly bold, it — or is particularly focused on where the problems are in this country

Jon Huntsman–he doesn’t quite understand this situation. What he is calling for would lead to a trade war. It makes for easy talk and a nice applause line but it’s far different from the reality in the U.S.-China relationship.

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Well, there it is!  An prodigious collection of quotations, perhaps a few of which may one day make it into Bartlett’s.  “No big deal!” you say.  “They’re all running for the Republican nomination, so they’ve GOT to attack each other!”  Not really.  In Republican primaries in the not-too-distant past, Republicans focused their attacks on the Democratic President or anticipated Democratic nominee!  This year (and it seems that they are continuing a recent trend), they are levying their attacks on their fellow Republicans.  Of course, when the primaries are over, and a Republican nominee is selected, I anticipate that the Republicans will rally behind that Republican nominee.  Yet, we have to ask the question:  Will that be too late?  Will these Republican Angry Birds have given the Democrats and President Obama too many lines, too many quotations, too many attacks that will be turned against the nominee of the Republican Party.  Time—as always–will tell!

Note:  YouTube Video paralleling this article can be found at http://www.youtube.com/user/mrgrosky1

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New York City: More than Just the Jets (Fortunately!)

New York's Times Square

In the spirit of full disclosure, let me point out that I was born in New York, and though my family moved to New England when I was only a boy of four, I have fond memories of many visits there, over the years, to visit my relatives.  My boyhood memories include great times at Coney Island, the Bronx Zoo, the Statue of Liberty., and later the New York World’s fair.  As we grew up here in Massachusetts, my younger brother and I always selected Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford to emulate when we’d play baseball.  We sang along with Frank when he belted out “New York, New York” at countless weddings and Bar Mitzvahs.  I remember admiring John Lindsey and John Rockefeller, even as I became enamored of the Kennedy brothers.   I appreciated the Giants and Bill Parcells, even before he came to the Pats.   And even though I am a rabid Red Sox fan, I have always appreciated and applauded Yankees from Thurman Munson to Graig Nettles to Andy Pettite to Derek Jeter to Mariano Rivera who have played the game with both grit and class.

“So what?”  you ask.  So, there is no way you can accuse me of being a Big Apple-hater!  In fact, I just got back from a few days of delightful New York sight-seeing where I visited the Bronx Zoo, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Top of the Rock.  You can check out my photos at http://mrgrosky.wordpress.com/ and at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrgrosky/ .

That is why it almost pains me to say that the New York team which is visiting Gillette Stadium in Foxboro tomorrow–the New York Jets–is one which is unworthy of its fans and unworthy of the great city of New York.   Yeah, I know all about the Patriots and the great Snowplow controversy and Spygate ………The former was no big deal to anyone except Don Shula and some disgruntled Dolphins, and the latter was nearly identical to what many other NFL coaches have routinely done.    For that, they were justly penalized a total of $750 THOUSAND  dollars and a first round draft choice—the toughest penalty in NFL history.   But these two events are the sole blemishes on a team that for much of the 90’s and the first decade in the new millennium has represented class and the highest level of skill.  Since 1994, the Pats have the best record in football.  They have continued their extraordinary record even after Spygate in 2007, when many were hoping and waiting for them to fall on their faces.

Now the Jets, on the other hand, have long been a team that has fallen far short of expectations.   Many say that the first three words that a new Manhattan daddy hears his baby utter are “Same Old Jets.”

This year the Jets have notched new lows in outrageousness and lack of class.  Hmmmm…….where do I start?   There are so many examples that I’d better take them chronologically.  Way back in August there was the HBO Hard Knocks display of profanity by brash Coach Rex Ryan.  Then in September, a reporter complained that she was subjected to catcalls and jokes by players as she covered practices.    Jets owner Woody Johnson had to not only apologize, but was forced to pay for an NFL training program to improve the workplace environment.   Also in September, we had the allegations of driving while intoxicated against Jets receiver Braylon Edwards.  Then, in December, the Jets were forced to suspend their strength and conditioning coach when he instructed inactive players to form a wall on the sidelines before he tripped a Dolphins special teams player during the game.  Then in December and January, we continued to deal with the behavior of Brett Favre, back when he was a Jet–serious allegations of sexual harassment by this famous quarterback, who also happens, by the way, to be a married man.  In recent days we have arrogant Coach Rex Ryan trying to get inside Tom Brady’s head by saying that Brady studies—but not as much as Peyton Manning, and that Manning would have been watching the Jets instead of watching the Broadway show Lombardi, a la Brady.  Finally, this week we have Antonio Cromartie profanely attacking Brady with words that can not be reprinted here (because this blog is read by adults and children of all ages).   For that reason among others, I will not even tread into the dirty waters surrounding the Ryan/Ryan foot issue.

And what have the Pats done during all this time?  Kept their mouths shut, respected their opponents–including the Jets–and played tough, smart, great football–even while having one of the youngest teams in the league.  The Jets would do well to remember that words are cheap, and that it is action and results that count.

For tomorrow’s playoff game, I hope that the Jets leave the trash talk in the locker room, and come out to play some good clean hard-nosed football.  It’ll be the only way they have a chance.   If they get carried away with their own hyperbole, as they did the last time they met the Pats, it’ll end up being another blowout with the Pat winning 38-10.  If the Jet can play up to the level and quality of the city they represent—with class and with heart—it’ll be significantly closer.

Still, I’m predicting a Patriots victory 31-27.

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Julian Assange, Elizabeth Edwards, GPS

Thoughts for the Week (December 5-12, 2010):

Julian Assange–This week Mr. Assange, the Australian journalist and founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested for crimes against two woman.   Time and the courts will tell whether he is guilty of these crimes.  Yet Mr. Assange has already taken responsibility for a different very serious offense, that is  the leaking of thousands of sensitive documents—many of which may be endangering the safety of U.S. and other servicemen.  It is exasperating to me that certain individuals maintain a holier than thou attitude of knowing more or better than the rest of us what is best for us and for the world.   Mr. Assange’s philosophy has been quoted as “To radically shift regime behavior we must think clearly and boldly for if we have learned anything, it is that regimes do not want to be changed. We must think beyond those who have gone before us and discover technological changes that embolden us with ways to act in which our forebears could not . . . The more secretive or unjust an organisation is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. … Since unjust systems, by their nature induce opponents, and in many places barely have the upper hand, mass leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance.”

I understand that some things which happen nationally or globally behind the scenes would be best exposed.   Certainly abuses in human rights need to see the light of day so they can be exposed and prevented in the future.  Yet it seems to me to be a dangerous trend to force a society  to allow all of its actions–including military secrets–to be exposed and spotlighted on a world stage for everyone to see.

Daniel Yates, a former British military intelligence officer, wrote “Assange has seriously endangered the lives of Afghan civilians …”

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,. Mike Mullen, said, “Mr. Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is, they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family.”

U.S. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell  has called Assange “a high-tech terrorist”.

(Thanks to Wikipedia for the above quotations).

As for me, every year or two we freely elect people to run our government.  I am content to allow those representatives (who have much more information and expertise than I) to hold in confidence that which they feel is truly in the nation’s best interest to do so.  I would ask that Mr. Assange and his WikiLeaks organization do the same.

Elizabeth Edwards:  The elusive definition of grace received a new meaning this week with the death of Elizabeth Edwards, an attorney, wife, mother, and  political activist who was against the War in Iraq and who waged battles on behalf of universal health care and gay rights.  Throughout the Kerry/Edwards vs. Bush/Cheney election fight, throughout her struggle against breast cancer, and throughout her husband’s infidelity scandal, she  maintained her honor and dignity, and came to symbolize hope and grace for young and old–Democrat and Republican alike.  I have added her last facebook entry to my own profile list of favorite quotations:

The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human.But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful.”       —Elizabeth Edwards

Peace be with you always, Elizabeth, and may your family hold in their hearts and minds the most beautiful images of a wonderful woman.

And finally, a few thoughts about that most essential of modern inventions, the GPS.

I bought my Garmin GPS about two years ago in anticipation of my cross-country trip shortly after I retired from 35 years as a teacher and principal.  It has since proven to be the one tech gadget I can not live without.  OK, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but it is certainly the one that I try to never leave home without (Please excuse the mangled syntax and ending preposition).  It has made maps and mapquest obsolete.  I no longer need to listen to well-intentioned long-winded directions given by well-meaning friends.  I no longer need to rely on a co-pilot next to me armed with the latest AAA map.   I just type in my destination, and Jill (the American English voice of my GPS) directs me every step of the way.  If I make any kind of mistake, I inevitably hear those sometimes dreaded/sometimes welcomed words:  “re-caluculating.”  I sometimes think if nothing other than the Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) had come from our Space program, it would still be worth it.  (Yes, I know that the space program is responsible for far more technological advances than just GPS—just a bit of hyperbole to make a point).

Whether the GPS allows me to expertly navigate around my own lovely Commonwealth of Massachusetts or permits me to travel across the entire country and photograph the awesome sights that our nation offers to us all, it is a technological marvel, and one that benefits us all.

Now if only future techies could develop a GPS that could be activated when a political party seems to have lost its way…

Until next time,

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Super Bowl XLIV–A Review

I can’t remember any non-Patriots Super Bowl in recent years that I have enjoyed as much as Sunday night’s game between the Saints and the Colts.  And no–it wasn’t just because I had predicted the upset a week earlier right here on my blog.  There were a number of reasons that I had a great time at my good friend Arthur’s Annual Super Bowl Party—great company, tons of munchies, a delicious half-time feast, and a game that was worthy of the title SUPER Bowl.

Now as my second-ever YouTube video (and the first one featuring Yours Truly) I also reviewed this game at http://www.youtube.com/user/mrgrosky1.   I’m trying out an idea that I’ll call “Just Three Things” where I’ll focus on three major points.  In any case, a little of this may look familiar if you have already seen my video on You Tube.  If not, I’d appreciate your checking it out, and telling me what you think.  I know I look excessively serious—but hey, it was my first time on You Tube, and I was really nervous!  I know, pretty strange, considering my dramatic background. 

Anyway, back to the Super Bowl!

I guess I was rooting for the Saints because I felt that the city of New Orleans would really be uplifted by a Saints victory.  After all, Hurricane Katrina’s effects continue to impact nearly everyone in the city–their homes and their families.  Secondly, I had read a lot about Drew Brees and all that he and his teammates had done for their adopted home city. 

Speaking of Brees, what an amazing clutch performance!  32 completions in 39 attempts for 288 yards–tying Tom Brady’s Super Bowl record for completions!  Two touchdown passes and NO interceptions.  He spread the ball around to EIGHT receivers:  Marques Colston caught 7, Devery Henderson another 7, Pierre Thomas 6, and Reggie Bush pulled in 4, along with some nifty running.  In the go-ahead touchdown drive, he even hit seven in a row to seven different receivers–absolutely Brady-esque!  But what impresses me most is that he’s not only a great quarterback, he’s also a good man–a kind and decent man, and even (dare I say it?) a good role model.   Look, he came back from a serious injury four years ago when San Diego didn’t want him, when nobody wanted him, except for the Saints.  And he won over them AND the city of New Orleans!

Now what about Peyton Manning…?  Well, from everything I hear—another really decent guy—-BUT—he’s got two problems:  1. He’s the nemesis of my favorite player and team (Brady and the New England Patriots) and he’s a bit overexposed as far as commercials go.   I really wasn’t eager to see him win the game and hear all those Colts brag about how he had won two Super Bowls and was just one behind Brady.  So how did he do?  All things considered, pretty well overall–just not good enough in a game where Brees was better.  Manning was 31 for 45, 333 yards’ worth of completions, with one touchdown and (oh, yes) just that one KILLER interception.  He had a couple dropped on him, but then again, so did Brees!  So, I guess that mean that he’s now just 50 percent lifetime for both the playoffs (9 wins, 9 losses) and for the Super Bowl too (where he’s now won 1 and lost 1).  Now, sorry about that Colts fans, but that just doesn’t cut it when you compare that to Tom Brady 14 wins and 4 losses in the playoffs and his 4 wins and 1 loss in Super Bowls.  I give Manning his due:  he IS a great quarterback, but “Quarterback of the Decade?”  THAT would HAVE to be Tom Brady.

Before I wrap up, I’ve got to give a huge amount of credit to two coaches:  first of all, to Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams.  Hey, anytime you can hold Peyton Manning to 17 points, you know that you’ve devised a great defensive game plan.  Secondly, kudos to Coach Sean Payton for an extraordinary job overall.  He had his team ready to play hard–with emotion–but also with control.   He also took the game right to the Colts with three gutsy decision.  First of all, he went for it on fourth and one early in the game when the safe call would have been a field goal.  At the time, especially since they were stopped on the fourth down try, it looked like it may have been a huge mistake.  But then, the Saints defense stopped the Colts offense cold, forced them to punt, and took advantage of a short field to score a field goal just before the half. 

The second gutsy call was the shocker of an onside kick to open up the second half, with the Colts leading 10-6.  Sure it worked, but if it hadn’t (and let’s face it, it usually DOESN’T) then Manning might very well have brought the Colts in for a quick score, a 17-6 lead and an avalanche of second-guessing the coach’s decision to go for the onside kick at that point.  “What in the world was he thinking? all the experts and pseudo-experts would have proclaimed.  Instead of a goat, he’s a genius—because they made it!

The final gutsy decision was to go for the two extra points (instead of the nearly-automatic one point)  after their go ahead touchdown.  Two point is tough to make, but those two points meant that even if Manning had been able to rally his troops for another score (plus a Colts extra point), the game would be no more than tied–possibly heading for the first overtime in Super Bowl history.  So Congrats to the coaches–as well as the players.

Finally, as I think about all the problems that we have in our country at this time, I can’t help but wish that more people thought and spoke as Drew Brees did after the game on Sunday night.  If you missed the interview, think about what he said for a moment.  Maybe we can all learn something from Drew Brees:

“Four years ago, who ever thought this would happen?  Eighty-five percent of the city was under water, all the residents evacuated all over the country, people never knowing if they were coming back or if New Orleans would come back,” Brees said.  “But not only the city came back, but the team came back too…When the players got there, we all looked at one another and said, ‘We’re going to rebuild together.  We leaned on each other.  This [the Super Bowl victory] is the culmination of that.'”  From the ashes, the Saints and the city that loves them, have arisen.  May they both continue to prosper.

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The Scott Brown Thank You Tour

Scott Brown Comes to Dracut, Mass. to Thank His Supporters

 

In the spirit of good journalism and fairness, I traveled this afternoon to Dracut, Massachusetts where I attended the reception for Senator-elect Scott Brown.  I went with an open mind, determined to view this man who has shaken to its core the Democratic Party and (to a lesser extent) the Republican establishment as well.  Now, for those who are not regular readers of this blog,  in the spirit of full disclosure, I want to confess that I was an active supporter of Martha Coakley, and fully endorsed her candidacy on January 17 as my first blog post.   

However, those of you who know me and those of you who have read my blog, know how much I value fairness, decency, and rational discourse characterized by courtesy and respect.  In fact, I am hoping that my blog becomes known as one which actively and eagerly explores all points of view and solicits all ideas, so long as the writer expresses them courteously and attempts to back them up with facts and evidence.    

Finally, those who have read my most recent blog entry on the State of the Union Address, know that I firmly believe that we need to give our elected officials a fair chance and a reasonable amount of time to put their agendas to the test and to measure results.  In President Obama’s case, I stated strongly that 12 months was not nearly enough time to judge either Barack Obama or his Presidency.   

In the very same way, I believe that it is incumbent upon each and every one of us—Brown supporters, Coakley supporters, Kennedy supporters, and even those who did not vote–it is incumbent upon us ALL to support OUR United States Senator (Elect) Scott Brown.  He was, after all, fairly elected by a solid majority in an election that was watched and studied carefully across our Nation.
Consequently, it was in that spirit that I journeyed nearly ninety minutes in my 1993 Ford Focus (sorry, no Scott Brown styled pickup truck) to see Scott Brown thank his supporters and meet some of those other folks who had voted for one of the other two candidates.  I got to the restaurant about one hour early and was met by a line of people which was permitted to head into the restaurant beginning at about 2:40—nearly an hour before Senator-elect Brown was to arrive.  I was fortunate enough to get a position right in front of the podium—prime territory for some great photos, a short video, and a chance to personally meet (albeit very briefly) our newly elected Senator.    

The hall was filled with young, middle-aged, and older men and women, some of whom brought a child or two.  I’ve got to say that my experience in chatting with these Brown supporters for nearly an hour as we staked out our positions (literally and politically) in Lenzi’s Restaurant was a very positive and enjoyable one—even as I announced my Democratic pedigree and my support for both Coakley and President Obama.  This atmosphere, frankly, was in stark and pleasant contrast to my experience in encountering a group of enthusiastic but angry Brown supporters as I left the Coakley-Clinton rally at WPI in Worcester  just two weeks ago.    

This afternoon, I was surrounded by eager, thankful and excited Brown supporters.  They seemed to still be basking in the glow of their election success.  I say “their” success, because so many of them felt that they were a part of the success of the campaign and the victory of Scott Brown.  Seeing the way Brown’s victory has reverberated across the country and is already showing signs of making a difference in Washington politics-as-usual, they seemed newly enfranchised, filled with an idealism that I suspect many have not experienced in many a year.  I spoke to an elderly man from Dracut who had fought in the Korean War.   I spoke to a young Political Science and Communications graduate of Westfield State College who seemed eager to volunteer for a position on the Brown staff.  Then, there was a very pleasant woman standing just to my right in the only position that was better than mine—right in front of the podium.  She had a number of newspaper front pages—one laminated—that she was eager to have autographed.  She was from New Hampshire, and only became a supporter after her sister from Massachusetts called her excitedly about this new amazing candidate that she had begun following and supporting.  You can find her photo and many others of Senator-elect Brown and his supporter on my flickr photo website at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrgrosky.   

I spoke to a woman of 60 years who was eager (like most) to get a photo with Senator-elect Brown.  Quite frankly, I’m not sure she entirely approved of me or of my being there (especially right up front!) since I made it clear that I had not been in Brown’s corner, and that I was a strong supporter of President Obama.  Still, I think I gradually won her over a bit, when I insisted that I would try to write a fair and honest piece on this Brown event.   I spoke with a very kind young  Greek-American father and his sixth grade son.  We spoke of subjects ranging from his strong support of the Senator-elect,  to his son’s education,  to the campaign of Michael Dukakis, to the gorgeous Greek isles of Mykonos and Santorini. I spoke with two young men who had autographed a basketball to present to Mr. Brown in the hope that he might use it to challenge President Obama to a game on his “home court” in Washington.  Then there was the elderly lady whom I was informed was 90 years old and didn’t have a computer when I naively asked if she wanted me to email a picture of her posing with the President.   And the woman with the double-sided poster: on one side “Stand Strong” and on the other “Show the Love–Honk for Scott.”  She said that I could take her photo if I mentioned the “Rabid Republican” website   (O.K……a promise is a promise).   

There was a good feeling in that room–a real comradery among people who were happy for their successful candidate, now a soon-to-be-Senator, and a conviction that they really had made a difference–a difference that maybe–just maybe–might prove to be long-lasting.  Oh, sure, I guess some people didn’t quite know what to make of this retired educator who kept shooting photo after photo with his trusty Nikon—this former Coakley supporter who kept insisting that he was going to give the same chance to Scott Brown over the next two years as he hoped they would give to Barack Obama for another year or two.  But, in the long run, I think there grew a mutual respect,  As I listened to their fears of a scaled-back health care bill which they acknowledged might be acceptable initially (until the Congress added more to it year after year), they listened to me speak of goals that the President had recommended–tax breaks for small business and other job incentives upon which we could, perhaps, agree.   

And what about the object of all that affection, good will, and excitement?  Well, a smiling and exuberant Scott Brown entered soon after 3:30 to the enthusiastic applause and wild cheers of the faithful.   He spoke briefly–about three minutes.  After explaining that he wanted to stay long enough to have a chance to meet, shake hands with, or pose with everyone, he thanked the crowd:  “I want to personally try to thank each and every one of you because without all of you…I wouldn’t have the opportunity to go to Washington and bring good government, and fairness, and discussion, and just problem-solving back to the equation.”  He seemed to answer, then, a question from the crowd:  “How are my days…?  My days are pretty much the same,” he playfully quipped.  “I get up, I go for a ride, I ride my bike, play with the dogs a little bit, give the wife a kiss goodbye, and then I go to see about a thousand people!”   He concluded, “and it’s all wonderful, and I’m very, very humbled and honored to be here and to have an opportunity to really make a difference and bring common sense back to the equation in Washington. ”  You can see the video at my YouTube    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsU53wnr05o
  

Just a  short speech and a much, much longer meet-and-greet that followed……Through it all, he seemed young and energetic.  To tell you the truth, he connected so warmly and directly with the crowd that as I watched the young and the old press for photos, handshakes, and autographs, I couldn’t help think and believe that this  is what it must have been what it was like  when Jack Kennedy first was elected to the Senate, Bill Clinton to the Governorship, and even (much more recently) Barack Obama to the Presidency.      

Will he stay true to his words and make good on his promises?  The crowd–voicing their fatigue (in some cases) and their disgust (in other cases) with the Washington career politicians, particularly with Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi–see him as a different kind of politician–a man of the people–a Senator whose only loyalty is to the people of Massachusetts.    

As for me, putting personal political biases and votes aside, I have to say that I was impressed with the man I briefly saw today.  He was friendly,warm,  personable, down-to-earth.  He seemed sincere, and though he was saying many of the same things at each of these five thank-you stops he has made over three days, the words still resonated true, as though they really came from the heart.  I wonder, too, if he will turn out to have more substance–to be more than I thought he was when I voted for Martha Coakley… Is he really the independent voice he insisted that he was, or was that just an attempt to obscufate the fact that he was a Republican who had voted with the state Republican leadership 96 percent of the time?   I certainly was encouraged when–in his first trip to Washington–he seemed to tell both Republicans and Democrats that he did not owe his election to either party and that he would vote his conscience.  I also liked his respect for those with opposing views–President Obama, in particular, and also Mayor Menino.   

Now, it’s true that many would call me an idealist, a cockeyed optimist;  some (especially on the left) might call me dangerously naive.  Yet after two weeks of disappointment with my candidate losing, and many days of seeing the vitriol of so many on the right (and a few on the left, as well) I admit that I was ready to be convinced that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that this light is not a freight train coming towards us, bringing us a disaster of epic proportions.  Scott Brown did not disappoint; I fervently hope he will not disappoint in the half-term ahead of him.  In any case, he deserves a chance.

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Scott Brown, Haiti Relief, and Football

Election of Scott Brown in Mass. Illustrates Voter Anger and Frustration

This week’s election of Massachusetts relatively obscure State Senator Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate was a wake-up call to all politicians in Washington that the Americans are fed up with business as usual in the Beltway.  Martha Coakley may not have been the strongest campaigner, but after all–this is Massachusetts–the true-blue state that voted over 60 percent for Barack Obama just over a year ago!

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I do have to admit that my adult son and I spent almost three hours alone on a downtown corner in an election-day snowstorm holding signs for Martha Coakley.  We recorded 52 thumbs-up from passing motorists vs. only 29 thumbs down during about a thirty-minute time period when we were making our strictly unscientific poll.  Since our town and the whole state voted strongly for Brown, the only thing we were able to confirm was the complete unreliability of these unscientific polls!

So, what does it all mean?  Well, first of all, it means that the people are unhappy with the slow pace of the recovery and the higher-than-ten percent unemployment rate (9.4 percent here in Massachusetts).  Secondly, they seem to be angry with both Democrats whom they view as trying to spend our way out of the recession by using huge amounts of taxpayer money (adding to the deficit) with additional government programs like health care.  Although many people in Massachusetts support the idea of health care for the 30 million Americans who do not have any health care (and the elimination of prior conditions as a rationale for rejection ), they are incensed with back-room deals and a perceived lack of transparency in developing a health care bill.  While this looks like good news for Republicans, it is clear that they should not be licking their chops just yet.  Surveys and interviews with voters show that the people are  also not happy with Republicans who seem to be refusing to compromise, and are now beginning to be known as the Party of “No.”  Many people I spoke to point to the fact that Republicans and Conservatives  like Sen. Jim DeMint or Rush Limbaugh seem to WANT Barack Obama to fail and are, therefore, doing everything within their power to be obstructionist and confrontational–refusing to work with the President or to offer realistic compromises.

For those who pay attention to history, it is clear that this financial crisis does not belong to any ONE political party.  After all,  Democrat Bill Clinton left a $237 billion surplus for Republican George Bush and a Republican Congress.  President Bush and his policies caused that surplus to disappear largely through unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, leaving  Democrat Barack Obama (on entering office)  a $1.3 trillion deficit.

The general view seems to be that Scott Brown–an attractive and energetic campaigner–was able to tap into all of that voter frustration.  Running a smart campaign, he is the beneficiary of all of that voter anger and angst.  His job now is to  prove that he is, in fact,  the independent thinker, shaker and mover that he purported to be.  In the spirit of good government and true bipartisanship, I wish him all the best.  Our country needs it; our democracy demands it.

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NOW,  ONTO  SOME  OTHER  CONCERNS  OF  THE  WEEK:

Kudos to the American people who have rallied to the cause of disaster relief in Haiti by donating over 377 million dollars in the past two weeks.   As an American and an educator for nearly 37 years, it makes me proud to see how average citizens–many in financial difficulty themselves–have dug deeply to help friends in the world community who have been stricken by the disaster in Haiti.  While so many countries–including the U.S., Mexico, Venezuela, Israel, Spain, and China–have sent doctors and/or rescue squads, many are also contributing huge amounts of money.  Based upon the percentage of amounts donated and/or pledged and on the per capita contributions (which takes the population of each country into account), it seems that the leading contributors are the United States, Canada, Spain, Great Britain, France, the World Bank, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and the European Commission.  I hope the contributions continue to flow in –even as Haiti fades from the nightly news reports, and the media focuses on other areas of the world.

Since they often are ridiculed for the causes they espouse, I also want to thank those celebrities who were involved as performers or phone handlers in the telethon for Haiti relief which was on all three networks yesterday.   Sure, our society rewards superstar celebrities with nearly obscene salaries for their singing or acting, but it behooves us to point out that a large number of these celebrities really do seem to have genuine social consciences that cause them to go into action to help in the worst of times.  Thanks to celebrities such as George Clooney, Madonna, Sting, Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Kid Rock, Neil Young, JayZ, Beyonce, Shakira Wyclef Jean, Bono, Sheryl Crow, and Rhiana who all performed (partial list).  Thanks also to those who manned the phones:  Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert DeNiro, Julia Roberts, Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington, Matt Damon, Clint Eastwood, Halle Berry, Ben Stiller, Stephen Spielberg, Ellen DeGeneres, Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks, and Reese Witherspoon.  As of this morning, their efforts had already raised 67 million dollars.  Quite a few of these celebrities have also made major contributions from their own personal fortunes to Haiti relief. Just a few of the heavy contributors:  Sandra Bullock (1 million dollars), Leonardo DiCaprio (1 million dollars), Madonna (250,000 dollars), Clooney/Pitt and others (1 million dollars)..

Just a few words on the NFL playoffs……..I am writing this just as the AFC Championship game begins.   As I think of the millions of fans who are diverted by football for a few hours from their financial or personal problems, I am reminded a bit of my Shakespeare classes at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.  It seemed that even in the midst of a classic tragedy like Macbeth, Shakespeare  managed to introduce some comic relief—just to allow the audience to breathe a bit–before the worst to come.  One hopes that we have already seen the worst, but it is nice–nevertheless–to be able to take a breath, watch the Jets, the Colts, the Vikings, and the Saints–and be concerned only with yards per carry, interceptions, quarterback sacks, and the like.  If only the problems of the world could be so simple.

My Predictions:

Colts defeat Jets 24-21;  (Jets’ defense not enough to stop Manning) and Saints defeat Vikings 31-27  (Bret Favre is good (and Adrian Peterson could help), but Drew Brees is better.

Until Next Week………….

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