Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Eyes of Texas are Upon Them

February 24th, 2008

My Dear America:

One thing about this years Presidential Campaign that I love is that it is never boring. Well almost never.

Certainly this week is one of those more interesting weeks. There was, of course, the Texas Debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama last Thursday night. There was probably more civility in that debate than most we have seen. Both Hillary and Barack made their points, mostly the same points that they have made in previous debates. The difference in this debate from most of the others was the rather strange but welcome interruption of the political hostilities by Hillary Clinton as she made the point at the end of the debate that she has been blessed in her life and so has Barack and that regardless of what shakes out in this Presidential Primary season they both will be "fine." Hillary ended up talking about how proud she was to be on that stage with Obama. It was hard to read from what happened what Message Hillary was really trying to convey. Was she giving up? Was she ending her Presidential Campaign and turning over the reins to Barack Obama?

Not a chance. Just days later the fur was flying between Hillary and Barack again. Hillary was unhappy about what she felt was Barack's misinterpretation of her involvement in the Clinton Administration. Once again we see that between these two it aint over til its over.

Barack's wife, Michelle Obama, also got herself in some political hot water last week by making a comment about the fact that after a long period of time she was finally proud of her country. Naturally the Republican pundits pounced on this like it was red meat that they could chew on and spit out for a long time. Clearly Michelle was not saying anything other than she was proud of her husband and his campaign but to hear the Republicans tell it Michelle was an Anti American Liberal Shameful Hussey.

Probably this story would have dragged Michelle Obama through the mud much longer but then along came a story in the New York Times that knocked everything else off page one all over the country. The story was mainly about the fact that Republican Front Runner, John McCain, who has presented himself over these many years as a political reformer, may have, indeed, been influenced himself by lobbyists during the time that he had advocated reducing lobbyist influence. If that, in itself, had been the heart of the story it probably would have died a quick death within a few days. Unfortunately for McCain, or perhaps fortunately, the story had a couple of sentences which pointed to a concern on the part of former McCain staffers that it had been suspected by McCain people 8 years ago during his ill fated campaign for the Presidency that McCain was having an affair with Telecommunications Lobbyist, Vickie Issacson. Talk about lobbyist influence.

Suddenly and without warning this boring 8 year old story of lust, legislators and lobbyists had turned McCains Right Wing Radio Talk Show Tormentors into McCain supporters. McCain's campaign strategists had been trying to figure out how to make this happen since it became obvious to all concerned that McCain was going to be the Republican standard bearer in 2008. Now here it was Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly all together defending McCain instead of running him down. It was extraordinary and all it took was a marriage threatening embarassing story run by The New York Times. Suddenly it was this left leaning national newspaper, which supposedly had been sitting on the story for a long time and had also endorsed McCain as their choice to win the Republican Primary that was being demonized again by the right. It was truly manna from heaven for the McCain Campaign.

It is so strange right now to be observing Rush Limbaugh rushing to John McCain's defense. Limbaugh is now castigating The New York Times for "trying to destroy" John McCain's Presidential bid. According to Limbaugh it is unforgivable that The New York Times is trying to destroy John McCain. Yet only a week ago it was more than OK for Rush to be working daily to destroy John McCain.

Incredible. Absolutely Incredible. But I am sure that there are many more incredible surprises to come in this interesting and unpredictable campaign.

Sincerely Yours

Jerry Gallagher

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Two Days After Super Tuesday - Goodbye Mitt Romney

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

My Dear America:

Well It's two days past Super Tuesday and another one bites the dust as the Republican field of prospective candidates has shrunken to two. Mitt Romney is gone after a self serving speech to a roomful of extreme Right Wing conservative Republican fanatics. Romney seemed to be the last best hope to Conservative Republicans despite the fact that he barely won more than a few states outside of Massachusetts. It apparently meant nothing to conservatives that Romney was not a conservative despite his continued verbal homage to Ronald Reagan. Romney showed from the beginning of his campaign for the presidency that he was willing to say and do anything to be elected to the presidency. Although he swore that he was pro choice when he ran for governor of Massachusetts that position went out the window once he decided that he needed the backing of conservatives in his presidential bid. Rudy Giuliani may have been a snake but at least he did not throw out every principle he had ever believed in once he set his sights on the White House. But now both Rudy and Mitt are Presidential Candidates with no future but only a past. They have joined Tom Tancredo in the Republican Candidate scrap heap and all I can say is "Good Riddance." They are gone because the American people are letting the political pundits and party leaders know that they have had it with the conservative agenda. Abraham Lincoln said that "you can fool some of the people some of the time", which the Republicans have done for the past 8 years. Lincoln also wisely pointed out, though, that "you can't fool all of the people all of the time."

over the past 8 years Republicans seemed to care less and less about the voters they were fooling into thinking that they were being helped by the Republican agenda. Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity spewed out their poison like the dangerous snakes they were and rich and poor Republicans adored them. No Longer. These heartless oracles are finding out the hard way that their days are not only numbered. Indeed, their day is almost done. The poor suckers that these meglomaniacs pulled into their web have broken loose. Rush, Sean and Bill do not like John McCain. He is not extreme enough for them. Too bad, they are stuck with him. The Republican Party is stuck with him. I just hope that you, America, are not stuck with him.

McCain is truly a wolf in sheeps clothing. He does have some redeeming qualities. Unlike George Bush and the rest of the Republican candidates, John McCain is truly a war hero. He has also been the prime mover and shaker for some very responsible legislation which has addressed some pressing problems such as Immigration and Campaign Financing. To his credit, McCain voted against the tax cuts for the wealthy when they were presented and put into place by Bush and McCain's fellow Republicans. Not to his credit is the fact that McCain has now, like Mitt Romney before him, changed his position on one of his core issues. Todays John McCain, who fought the powers that be in the Senate over the issue of unfair taxes has seen the Republican light. He now wants to make permanent the tax cuts for the well to do that he would not touch with a ten foot pole when they were first introduced. In addition to this outrage, McCain is also a fervent supporter of the War in Iraq and would have no problem with you, America, staying in that violent and unstable country for a hundred years. On the positive side, McCain has not changed his mind on Iraq and has taken his share of criticism for supporting Bush on Iraq. On the negative side, McCain might very well be supporting mass suicide. That makes just as much sense.

And so it goes in the world of politics. At this point, like it or not, John McCain is a go. He will be the Republican candidate for President and now the Republican spin machine will hold their collective noses and get behind McCain as they begin the process of smearing both of the Democratic front runners. Will McCain be okay with this. Yes he will.

Hopefully, though Hillary and Barack will survive the Republican smear machine and the American electorate will say together

"WE WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN" and mean it.

Sincerely Yours

Jerry Gallagher

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Turning Point of South Carolina

January 28th, 2008

My Dear America:

Although I am actually writing this post on February 2nd, I am using the date of January 28th because that was when I first wrote what I thought was a pretty good letter to you, tried to post it and watched the error message come up on my computer apparently sending my letter off into the electronic digital abyss never to be heard from again. Although I will probably not be able to write anything as good as my first try I have two choices. One; forget about it and the Blog or two; try again. I am making the second choice. So here goes.

The past two Saturdays in South Carolina have been monumental. First, a week ago last Saturday, John McCain left this state energized and thrilled that his plan for a "Surge" past Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee had worked in South Carolina. McCain flew into Florida like he was shot out of a cannon ready to work on wiping out his remaining opponents in the Republican Primaries. It is becoming clearer every day that McCain is the man to beat in the Republican Party. He is, what one pundit called "The Gentle Warmonger" which is certainly an accurate description of McCain. Clearly on the war in Iraq McCain is out of touch with the vast majority of Americans when he states that it would not bother him if U.S. Forces "stay in Iraq for a hundred years." It is too bad that McCain is such a disappointment to the Right Wing Fringe who are looking for a Thousand Year Commitment to the Iraq War on the part of the United States. McCain is also a disappointment to those who have admired his Maverick reputation over the years. For instance, gone is McCain's initial opposition to the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy that McCain refused to vote for when they were first passed in the Senate. Now he can't get the Wealthy Welfare Tax Bill passed fast enough. Goodbye Maverick. It was nice knowing you.

On the other side of the political street in South Carolina a very interesting development has occurred. Barack Obama throughout the last week was on the receiving end of a barrage of criticism from not only Hillary Clinton but also from her husband, Former President, Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton not only slammed Obama hard at every speaking engagement in the state he also called Obama a liar, who was not really against the War in Iraq at the outset and was also a Reagan Supporter, as well.

Bill Clinton clearly should have thought more clearly before he went on this weeklong verbal rampage across South Carolina. Although Bill Clinton does not always think with his brain he should have in this case. The end result in South Carolina was staggering. Barak Obama won the South Carolina Primary with a 2 to 1 vote margin of victory over Hillary Clinton. Another bad sign for the Cliintons was the fact that half of the primary voters had not voted in the 2006 Primary.

Today, on the day that George Bush gave his last State Of The Union Speech ( Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God Almighty we will soon be Free at Last, of him) One of the final nails was driven into Hillary Clinton's Presidential Bid Coffin.

As if the brutal defeat of Hillary (and Bill) in South Carolina wasn't enough bad news for Hillary's Campaign, Ted, Caroline and Patrick Kennedy joined Barack Obama on a college campus stage in Washington, D.C., where Ted gave one of his most passionate speeches ever linking the excitement about Obama's campaign to memories of his brothers campaigns for President. There was no doubt about who was receiving Ted Kennedy's endorsement.

At The State of The Union Speech Barack and Teddy hung out together like Frat Brothers smiling and talking before and after the President's Speech. Hillary kept her distance from Ted and Barack. At one awkward moment she did come over and shook hands with Kennedy but Obama walked away from her. It had to be a sad moment for Hillary and there will clearly be other sad moments to come but who knows what will happen next in this truly historic and unpredictable campaign. It certainly looks like Barack has the momentum right now but Super Tuesday is coming and I have the feeling that it is going to be a night of many shocks and surprises for Democrats and Republicans alike.

Sincerely Yours

Jerry Gallagher