Friday, September 14, 2012

3:00 a.m.

"When you shoot from the hip, you inevitably end up shooting yourself in the foot." - Deciminyan

During the 2008 presidential primary, Senator Hillary Clinton ran television ads asking how an inexperienced Senator from Illinois would react to a middle-of-the-night phone call about an overseas crisis. The purpose of the ad was to highlight Senator Obama’s limited experience in foreign policy.

Fortunately, Obama’s performance has belied the assumption in that video. His foreign policy has not been exceptional, but it has been pretty good. His first foreign policy action as president was one of his best - the appointment of Senator Clinton as Secretary of State. Clinton has immersed herself in the job, and while many of her efforts never make the nightly news, she has become as masterful in the job as her previous Democratic colleague, Madeline Albright. Choosing the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as his vice president also brought substantial foreign policy experience to the Obama administration.

Obama ended the foolish war in Iraq and is well on his way in extricating us from the quagmire in Afghanistan. He eliminated Qaddafi and Bin Laden. He’s kept (so far) Israel from engaging in a no-win war with Iran.

On the other hand, Mitt Romney has amply demonstrated that he has neither the temperament nor the experience to handle the 3 a.m. phone call. His shoot-from-the-hip response to the Libya crisis, announcing that the President of the United States sympathizes with the enemy, was foolish, bordering on downright traitorous.  Rarely do presidential challengers second-guess the incumbent during times of overseas crisis. Romney’s foreign policy experience is limited to sending American jobs offshore and his own money to the Cayman Islands.

The Republicans criticize Obama for his prior work as a community organizer. Yet, that’s a job that requires the use of persuasion over power - a key component of a successful foreign policy portfolio (if only Dubya and his war-monger advisers had understood this, many more Americans and Iraqis would be alive today.)  Romney’s claim to fame is the generation of wealth through non-value-added financial transactions. His skill set includes guile and exploitation of others. Maybe that works in his  business, but it’s not a qualification to be Leader of the Free World.

If Romney becomes President and that 3 a.m. phone call comes in, the world suddenly becomes a more dangerous place.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I Support Chris Christie

I can’t match Sheldon Adelson or the Koch Brothers, but I contribute some money to political candidates I would like to see elected. I’ve given to local and state wide candidates like Aimee Belgard and Marie Corfield, and to out-of-state contenders like Dan Maffei, who is running against a tea party candidate in my former home town of Syracuse, and to Claire McCaskill, the Blue Dog Democrat who is running against extremist Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin.

And I’ve also given to Chris Christie’s political campaign.

This may sound odd, but it isn’t.

You see, I’m a New Jersey taxpayer, and some of the money I send to Trenton goes to Christie’s political activities. I’m referring to his so-called “town hall” meetings, the 90th one of which was held this week. I’ve been to two of them myself, and have seen a few of the hundreds of YouTube videos which I am also paying for. These are all political events, not a “listening tour” and not geared to keeping voters informed.

Recent press reports reveal that the cost of Christie’s executive office has risen about 14%. While (I hope) much of this is for legitimate state business, the governor is bilking the taxpayer while simultaneously demanding other departments to do more with less. Part of this increase is the staff that arranges and runs his so-called “town hall” meetings and his entourage of videographers who produce his state-funded political ads.

Certainly, the governor should stay in touch with the populace. But the present format does not do that. It only serves as a forum for his political agenda and for rants that are inappropriate for a chief executive but get him on the news. If the governor wants to hold a political rally, that’s fine – but it should be paid for by the Republican Party, not by me. If only the mainstream media would call him out on this misappropriation of taxpayer funds.

Cross-posted from Blue Jersey