Archive for November, 2010

My Midterm Meltdown

Posted on November 15, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Okay, I think I’m finally done with my election night eating binge and the resulting chocolate brownie hangover. I’ve wiped the sugary, sweet crumbs from the corners of my mouth, stopped my belly aching, and I’m ready to face this political new day. And while not to downplay the consequences of my caloric over indulgence, what truly has me concerned are the “weighty issues” that this nation and its elected leaders still have to tackle head-on if we are to ever get out of this miserable economic ditch we’re all in.

But I wonder are the Republicans, Democrats and now Tea Partiers in Congress up to the task? I have my doubts.

Yes, the electoral map has turned solidly scarlet with the GOP taking control of the House and nearly doing the same with the Senate. And we won’t even talk about the statehouses. To the victor go the spoils. That doesn’t mean however, that the winners have a license to start acting like churlish spoiled brats.

Watching and listening to the GOP leadership one would think that the voters handed them a mandate slam on the brakes and throw the direction of the country in reverse. With smug grins in place, they’re gleefully reading from a “to do list” topped with repealing health care and Wall Street reform, extending the Bush-era tax cuts, and most importantly—denying President Obama a second term. They might as well end their remarks with a little “nah, nah, nah, nah, nah” teasing.

And the Democrats aren’t much better. They’re kicking and screaming and promising to do whatever it takes to hold onto their toys.

It’s enough to make one go Betty Crocker, or even maybe Lizzie Borden.

Hey Congress—its jobs, jobs and more jobs!

Why does listening to our so-called political leaders bring back not so fond memories for me—long ago memories of me desperately choking the steering wheel of my car trying not to lose it as my kids fought World War III in the back seat?

I’m not proud to admit this, but there where times when I just had to pull to a stop at the side of the road and well, go Mominator. I would leap out from behind the wheel, round the car to fling open the back door with one hand as I pulled my children out with the other. With shock and bewilderment still shining in their 5- and 10-year old eyes, I would quickly hop back into the car, lock all the doors and force my children to stand on the side of the road until they returned to civility.

Hey Republicans, Democrats and Tea Partiers—no one can drive this car (nation) in the direction in needs to go with all this damn noise and fighting.

As Marco Rubio, the newly elected Republican senator from Florida said, the midterm election results were not a validation of the GOP, instead it was simply a repudiation of the status quo. Unless the Republicans come up with something other than simply bashings the Democrats, this car stays stalled on the shoulder of the road.

American enterprise is trying to drive this car forward and create jobs and economic well being, but you Congress members are making it all but impossible to do so.

Don’t make me pull to the side of the damn road.

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Gridlock Is Not An Option

Posted on November 9, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

No matter how it is labeled—a repudiation of liberal policies, a rejection of the status quo, or simply a good old fashion shellacking—the midterm elections have ushered in a new political reality, one that will dramatically alter how business gets done on Capitol Hill.

The November elections saw the Republicans take the House and make an impressive run at the Senate. The House Republicans, under the leadership of incoming speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), are now the majority having picked up at least 60 seats, giving the GOP 239 seats to the Democrats’ 187 with 9 seats still to be determined. While in the Senate the Republicans can safely count in their camp 47of the upper house’s 100 members.

Campaigning on the promise of repealing Obamacare, cutting taxes, reducing spending and shrinking the federal deficit, the Congressional Republicans and their Tea Party associates have pledged to take back the country. But exactly what does that mean? And, more importantly, how will attempting to honor that pledge play out over the next two years?

One newly minted Congressman, riding high on the GOP tsunami, said he’s coming to Washington to take a “crowbar” to the legislative process and “change the rules because folks want us to do things differently.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) provided an even clearer indication of what to expect when he announced, hours after the election results were in, that the GOP’s number one goal is to “deny President Obama a second term in office.”

Doing things differently, really?

Let’s hope the President’s call for cooperation will make a difference. However, given the post midterm rhetoric thus far, it’s safe to assume the partisan bickering that the nation witnessed on Capitol Hill during the last 24 months will continue into the next 24.

The Republicans have made it clear that as soon as they assume control of the House in January they intend to pursue an aggressive conservative agenda, one that calls for:

• Reducing the size of government
• Lowering taxes
• Slashing spending
• Restraining federal regulators

Further, the political pundits are predicting that the new House majority will push for Congressional investigations of the Obama administration.

For their part the Democrats vow to do everything within their power to protect their legislative gains of the past two years.
If this is indeed the case, then both sides have failed to clearly hear, and more crucially, understand what American voters were saying on Nov. 2.

A surly, frustrated and disgusted electorate wants action on its number one priority—the economy. With unemployment stalled at 9.6 percent and more than 15 million Americans out of work it is all about job creation, job creation and more job creation.

What’s more, before the new Congress is installed in January there is still work to be done during the upcoming lame-duck session. There are a number of issues that must be addressed, including extending unemployment insurance benefits, ratifying a new Start nuclear arms treaty with Russia, and reaching agreement on the expiring Bush-era tax cuts.

And if all this weren’t enough, coming up in February is that sticky little matter of raising the nation’s debt limit, which could lead to a disastrous government shut down if political grandstanding is allowed to prevail.

Admittedly, a divided government is challenging with complication and frustration givens, but gridlock is no longer an option America can afford.

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Growing Sexism in American Politics?

Posted on November 9, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

As you can tell from the scorecard of new committee chairmen, the House of Representatives remains the domain of white men. The Senate is no better.

Sure there are dozens of women in the House and the Senate, but now that Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California will be forced to relinquish her gavel to the Republicans, that leaves few women powerhouses in the legislative branch.

Why? Some believe the best and brightest are being scared off by sexism bubbling just below the surface of American politics. In fact, it bubbled over repeatedly during this fall’s congressional midterm elections.

“It looks as if we’re going backward rather than forward,” Siobhan Bennett, president of the Women’s Campaign Forum Foundation, said in an excellent piece on the subject in the New York Times.

“Man-up.” It became the battle-cry of one of the shining female figures in American politics, former VP candidate Sarah Palin, the tea party darling and a front runner for the GOP presidential nomination. But was Palin really suggesting that all politicians are at their best when they’re acting manly?

Then there were clearly sexist attacks on a number of women candidates, including Pelosi whose ouster as speaker was celebrated to the tune of “Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead” in some quarters. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s hair and catty remarks about it by her GOP opponent, Carly Fiorina, were in play in California. And Delaware Republican senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell was attacked for engaging in a one-night stand and for her appearance “when the underwear came off.”

Of the four Republican Senate candidacies only Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire won. And while eight GOP women candidates won in the House, 9 Democratic women lost for a decline in the number of women in the House for the first time since 1978.
The Times piece pointed to a new initiative called “Name It, Change It,” designed to draw attention to instances of political sexism. This is a good start.

If women are to regain the momentum that brought them growing political power, sexism, even the veiled kind, cannot be tolerated particularly at the local levels where tomorrow’s leaders are being molded.

“You elect any woman, of either party, and you have a harder-working woman … a leader who will be paying more attention to education, to quality of life,” Bennett said.

“Having more women in elective office is essential to the long-term health of our nation,” she added.

Click Here to See the Rutgers study on Election Results and Women, 2010

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