23 January 2009

Teddy Apoplectic Over Caroline's Apologia

When Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg made her first attempt to withdraw from consideration for the Hillary seat in the Senate, multiple sources close to her cited her uncle's falling ill at the Congressional Inaugural luncheon as reported by the New York Times and New York Post. Well, the Lion of Liberalism, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) is furious over this lame excuse from dropping out of the New York Senate sweepstakes.

Those in Senator Kennedy's camp have told Time that "It made him look at death's door". Caroline knew that her uncle was prone to suffering from occasional seizures after his brain surgery but that generally he is doing well. Using Teddy's unfortunate incident at the Inaugural luncheon may have been a sympathy inducing distraction from Caroline's real personal reasons from withdrawing from consideration from the Senate seat, but depicting her uncle as being on a downward spiral is thought to impede on Kennedy's impact for comprehensive health care legislation in the Senate.

Later, staffers for both Caroline and Teddy tried to downplay the family fracas. Caroline's aide directly denied that Senator Kennedy's illness was the reason for Caroline dropping out. A source close to Senator Kennedy insisted that he was not upset with the Caroline people as the statements did not come from her. No politico tries to shape a story by having unsourced aides being quoted, right?

Personally, I think that staffers for the nine-term Senator are sensitive to his legacy as being a leader for universal health care and did not want ailment innuendo from a flaky family member to prevent him from being a legislative player.

22 January 2009

Don’t You Know?

The New York Post is reporting the Caroline Kennedy (Schossberg) withdrew her name from consideration for the Junior Senator for New York job. Caroline, the daughter of slain President John F. Kennedy, reportedly made the move when she heard that she was no longer a shoe-in for the nomination from New York Governor David Paterson (D-NY). By making the announcement, she presumes that she will not look like she was snubbed.

Governor Paterson seems to have been swayed by Caroline’s poor performances in media availabilities, like when she said “You Know” 143 times in a 45 minute interview. It is said that Caroline was not impressive during her private meetings with officials.

This move is surprising. The New York U.S. Senate seat has been gravitating towards star power, as exemplified by the success of Hillary Clinton. In addition, whoever is appointed to the seat will have to run for the remainder of the Senate term in 2010 and then (presumably) for re-election in 2012, so the person better have fund-raising prowess. Governor Paterson has been called the accidental Governor, as he took over after Governor Elliot Spitzer resigned from his high class call girl scandal in 2008, so his fortunes might have been buoyed by running with self financing star power like Kennedy-Schlossberg. Besides, President Obama offered Caroline encouragement to make a play for the position.

Paterson indicated that he was still considering New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), son of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, for the now vacant Senate slot. But there are still 15 elected New York Democrats who are poised to garner the position.

Offering the position to Cuomo would be wonderfully Machiavellian, as Cuomo may be primed to run against Paterson in the Democratic primaries for Governor. Despite having a famous name, Cuomo has experience both as state Attorney General as well as being HUD Secretary during the 2nd Clinton Administration. And I'll bet that he does not vote sporadically in elections.

Paterson may make his decision by the weekend.

Several hours later, AP floating a story from an unnamed source that Princess Caroline is still in contention for the seat. Has the "personal reason" that prompted Caroline's withdrawal have been solved or was pressure brought from on high to reconsider the scion of Camelot?

In response to this conflicting report, Caroline Kennedy-Schlossberg's spokesman issued a one line statement at the midnight hour confirming her withdrawal from consideration.

21 January 2009

Swearing Again

According to MSNBC-Obama, President Obama took the Oath of Office again from Chief Justice John Roberts at the White House. According to White House Counsel Greg Craig, this second swearing was acting in “an abundance of caution” after Chief Justice transposed some words during the Inauguration ceremony on the West steps of the Capitol.

The ceremony was held in the Map Room. Obama did not have the Lincoln Bible with him. This time, when Justice Roberts asked Obama if he was ready to take the oath, Obama said “Yes I am. And we are going to do this very slowly”. Both Constitutional Scholars were able to repeat the 35 word oath without any missteps this time. And neither needed a Tele-Prompter.

Alas, this properly uttered Oath still will not satisfy those who keep litigating the validity of Obama’s election since he has not shown a birth certificate proving that he was born in the United States or that he is a naturalized citizen.

Biden as Court Jester

Before administering the Oath of Office to senior White House staffers, Vice President Biden could not resist taking a jibe at Chief Justice John Robert’s verbal miscue from President Obama’s Inauguration.

As Biden took center stage, the Vice President quipped "My memory is not as good as Chief Justice Roberts'." The White House staffers groaned at the gaffe as President Obama scowled and looked visibly uncomfortable.

I’m certain that the Biden thought that he was being funny. His buffoonish bloviating during Senate hearings often took such a jocular tone. His impulse to be a witty wonder ignores Richard Neustadt’s policy making insight “Where you stand is where you sit”. Namely, Biden is no longer the mildly amusing politico elbowing his way for face time on Sunday Morning shows, he is the Vice President of the United States. Words matter.

While I doubt that the lamestream media has tired of being in the Globama buble, such off-hand remarks could steal the show from the President’s message of the day in the future. Moreover, it is not a wise idea for a Veep to cause derision with another co-equal branch of the government.

If the Gaffemaster keeps it up, he may find himself unwillingly set to an undisclosed location for “security” reasons. More likely, he could be told to take a low profile and only appear at foreign State funerals.

On the other hand, Biden could be a useful idiot for the President to be the designated target for late night comedians, who find it difficult to make light of our Dear Leader but they must feed the beast each night.

Getting Carried Away at the Capitol Hill Inauguration Lunch

The Politico is reporting that Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) was removed in his wheelchair in Statuary by medical personnel during the Congressional Luncheon for President Obama. Reportedly, the 91 year old Senator was having trouble eating but remained conscious.

At the end of the Inauguration Luncheon, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) collapsed with a seizure and was carried out. Last year Kennedy, the 76 year old Senator, had surgery on a brain tumor. President Obama left with Kennedy but then came back to the Luncheon. ABC News indicates that Senator Dodd was laughing as Kennedy was transferred into the ambulance which indicates that the seizure might not be serious just bad timing.

There are conflicting reports by CBS News that indicate that Byrd was so distraught by Kennedy’s seizure that he had to be taken away.

Senator Byrd is the Speaker Pro-Temp of the Senate and is third in line of Presidential succession.

Consider that Vice President Biden surrendered his Senate seat in Delaware, Illinois Governor Rod Blogojevich named Senator Roland Burris to fill President Obama’s Senate seat. Then there is Ken Salazar's Senate seat in Colorado which is open now that he is Obama's Secretary of the Interior-designate. New York Governor David Paterson seems poised to name Carolyn Kennedy to fill Senator Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat once the Secretary of State designate is confirmed. Isn’t this change enough? The tenuous health of these two Senators potentially means that there may be six appointed Democrat Senators facing re-election in 2010.

Churlish to the End

In the last half minutes of his presidency, George W. Bush suffered the indignity insults from those infected with Bush Derangement Syndrome. As President Bush was introduced at the dais for the Inauguration, there were audible boos from the crowd. In addition, the Obamatons churlishly started the jeer “Nah, nah, nah, nah–Nah, nah, nah, nah—Hey, yeah, yeah– Goodbye”, which is often chanted by yobs at the end of sports victories. Chris Matthews, an anchor from MSNBC-Obama, chided the poor form of these supporters.

I’ll bet that these attendees were likely the same ones who kept fervently chanting “Obama, Obama” when the President-Elect was introduced.

Obama's Ongoing Problems with Prayer

Prayers continue to be a problem for President Obama. Many Obama supporters were incensed when Reverend Rick Warren was asked to deliver the invocation at the Inaugural as Warren was not seen as being inclusive over homosexual rights. As it turned out, Warren gave a reverend, outreaching but Milquetoast invocation that closed by echoing the "Lord's Prayer".

In sharp contrast, Dr. Joseph Lowery, the 87 year old Methodist minister and Civil Rights leader gave an benediction that sounded more like a partisan provocation. The peroration fuses two borrowed phrases:
Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen. Say Amen'...

The first part of the prayer borrows a phrase from “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, also known as "The Negro National Anthem," by James Weldon Johnson. Then Lowery fused rhyming chants from his Civil Rights activism days.

America inaugurates its first Black President and his chosen minister blesses the occasion by using divisive racial indictments. So much for being one nation under God indivisible in a post-racial America. For a formal prayer, I am troubled at a benediction that provokes audible laughter, both for the prayer’s content as well as the vulgar rhyming.

I'm reminded of Reverend Wright's pulpit taunt "America's chickens are coming home to roost". So much for setting the wrong reverent tone—I don’t feel blessed.

Off Script Inauguration

There were few minor glitches in the Oath of Office for the Presidency which created ironic theoretical problems.

Firstly, there was the timing. The 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution stipulates that: The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January...".

The Vice President Biden's oath occurred at 11:59 a.m. and was followed by a musical interlude by a high profile quartet. This piece continued until 12:06 p.m. Only then did Chief Justice John Roberts administer the Presidential Oath of Office to Barack Hussein Obama. This delay technically made Vice President Biden the Head of State as Acting President for six minutes.

When Senator Diane Feinstein introduced the Chief Justice, it sounded like Roberts was introduced to administer "the oaf" of office. That may have been El Rushbo's bad hearing aid at work , however Feinstein did not clearly enunciate.

As the pair took center stage, Obama made a sotto voce joke "That was for you" about the riser that was intended for the shorter of stature wife to look on equal footing her husband. Both politely chuckled.

However, the levity made have precipitated some verbal flubs in the administration of the Presidential Oath of Office. Obama started to swear too quickly by immediately repeating his name after the Chief Justice uttered it, but the Obama stopped short and froze Then Obama properly repeated the first line after being prompted. Then the Chief Justice transposed the "faithfully" portion of the familiar oath to the end of the next clause. Roberts realized his error and tried to quickly vocalize the proper oath, but Obama repeated the Chief Justice's original phrasing. This lead Fox News Sunday Anchor Chris Wallace to jokingly opine that since the Presidential Oath was botched, he may not be the legitimate president, as if the tin foil hat types need any more encouragement.

I guess they both should not speak off Tele-Prompter.

Change to Govern

[20 Jan. 2009 11h40]

Well, today is the day that Barack Hussein Obama takes the oath of office and becomes America’s 44th President. Hearing excerpts of inaugural exuberance by the lamestream media, due to his African heritage, Obama will become the world’s President.

While that may be overstating it, it is understandable that supporters bask in the glow of the moment. I can revel at a few things. Today marks the end of “Bush Derangement Syndrome”, a mental disorder that has affected the left since the Florida re-count of 2000 and was exacerbated by the cynical “Bush Lied, People Died” campaign after the Iraq War ended to prevent his re-election.

So many Obamatons supported their man because he was an empty vessel into which they poured their hopes, their dreams and their racial pride. Based on Obama’s voting record, he is a man of the left, but he has relished opportunities to avoid taking a stand so he can seem appealing to all. Today that changes. Obama will have to assume responsibility for his actions, and inaction. That means alienating people, including his own base. I think the media will continue the cult of the Dear Leader, but wears thin when the rubber meets the road of reality.

I hope that President Obama can keep America strong and secure in the world, but I can not countenance measures that take us on the track to a state-drive (socialist) economy. Did we not learn from the Great Depression that FDR’s governmental make work and erratic experimentation only prolonged the economic downturn?

Using a Max Headroom-like crystal ball (seeing only 20 minutes into the future), here is what I expect the new President to do in the first 100 hours:

  • Obama will announce that he is withdrawing combat troops from Iraq. That way, he fulfills a campaign promise at little cost. President Bush’s troop surge in 2008 won the fight against the insurgents. I suspect that “combat troops” does not mean total military withdrawal, so military advisors and national building forces will continue to be there with a Iraqi government blessing.
  • Obama will proclaim that he will close Gitmo during his term. I expect major wiggle room, so that he can claim that he is closing Camp Delta in Cuba but it may take four years. Naturally, he can always claim that he did not know about the seriousness of matters before being President and quietly drag his feet. The Obama obsessed lamestream media will not hold their Dear Leader’s feet to the fire.
  • Obama will sign an Executive Order enforcing the “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA), basically enshrining pro-abortion laws through Presidential fiat. This pays off womens’ groups and honors what Rush Limbaugh calls the sacrament of Liberalism, the right of a pregnant woman to kill what becomes human life for any reason.

The first two proclamations I think will issued with great sound and fury and will signify nothing. The latter should challenge Social Justice advocates who supported Obama for identifying with the downtrodden and vulnerable, but not with the defenseless unborn humans.

In short, elections have consequences. But change also has consequences. And President Obama will no longer have the luxury of voting “Present” as he has often done in the past.

Freed at Last

[19 Jan. 2009]

After hearing the news that President Bush commuted the sentence of Border Patrol Ramos and Campeon, I sent the Commander in Chief a brief thank you. While I was skeptical at the verdicts against them, their sentences seemed wholly disproportionate to the crimes (hell, murderers serve less time than an alleged cover up of evidence).

It was good to be able to thank President Bush, especially considering how his Administration has laid the foundation for a state-driven economy over the last six months.

Moths Drawn to the Globama Flame

[19 Jan. 2009]

In spite of my jeremiad about the challenges of living in the Capitol City in the grips of Inaugural lockdown, people enchanted with the change to Obama as our Nation’s 44th President are inspired to come to Washington. Alas, some of these sojourns are not well thought out.

Let me offer two anecdotes of two moths drawn to the Globama flame. A couple hopped in their car driving from Georgia hoping to make it to Washington, DC for the swearing in ceremony. Well, they must have taken their directions from the rock group the B-52's as they lost once they left the Atlanta highway, so they turned back.

Another example of irrational exuberance for the Inauguration is an Atlanta mother who wanted to drive to DC so her two toddlers could be here for the change. She decided to do this with a little more than 24 hours before the oath was administered. It would be at least 10 hour drive. She could stay with relatives outside of the beltway. We tried to give her the realities to make prudent choices.

She would have to be at a Metro station at 4:00 a.m. to get any sort of place. The weather report predicts that the high will be 30 degrees F. (probably in the teens and 20s while she was waiting for six hours). Since she had no ticket for the parade route, more than likely she would have to go through nine security checkpoints to get to the mall. Strollers and backpacks are banned. The is a woeful paucity of porto-potties. If either of her children had to relief themselves, she would lose her standing place, then take off the layers of bundled clothing in a porto-potty and then muscle to find another perch to see the events on large screens set up along the mall.

I think our reality checkpoint was effective. She is checking out staying in Atlanta and watching the Oath of Office at a movie theater, sponsored by MSNBC-Obama. Better than figuratively crashing and burning in the chill of the National Mall with two small children.

Federal City in Lockdown

[18 Jan 2009]

While the changing of the guard may seem grand from afar, it is like being in a tortuous lockdown for ordinary residents of the Federal City. All of the Inaugural activities would involve street closures, security checkpoints and predictions of massive crowds.

Originally, I had planned to be Beyond the Beltways to miss the fun and frustration but that plan fell through. In the alternative, I had planned to stay hunkered down at my place in Capitol North. Alas, duty for my church called, so I was obliged to traipse to Georgetown for my normal Sunday night worship.

The Sunday before Inauguration was the kick off to the festivities with a huge afternoon concert. As luck would have it, my commute to church fell just as the concert was ending. It was prudent for me to change my route to avoid the crowds and closures. Even with my knowledge of backroads, a trip that would normally take 12 minutes took 50 minutes. It was not just the concert crowds the proved to be the challenge. Once I got to Georgetown, I had to circumnavigate around street closures and heavy police presence because grandiose on "Q" street (perhaps the Secretary of State designate) was having a party at her house and used the narrow streets for parking.

The return ride was no better. Traffic jams on Sunday night, street closures and police activity made the return trip virtually the same slow 45 minutes. It did not even let up 'round Midnight, when my wife returned home. Once she crossed New York Avenue, she entered the zone and a two block journey took 10 minutes.

I do appreciate the need for security during this transition time in war. But such security makes it difficult to live in an ordinary manner.

Even though I can literally see the Capitol from my back yard, the hassles of getting around a Federal City in lockdown convinces me that the best place to see the presidential changing of the guard is from the comfort of my abode.