October, 2008

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Twilight of the far-right kingmakers

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

The apparent imminent election of the liberal Democrat Barak Obama with a Democrat-controlled Congress should be the final nail in the coffin of the far-right wing’s ability to dominate the Republican party. As Michael Bates observes, we are about to elect a far-left liberal with almost no track record at a time when the liberals in Congress are bursting at the seams to “fix” all the perceived inequities in our country.

How is this possible? Has the U.S. electorate suddenly gone socialist? I think not. The answer is that the far-right and religious-extremist wing of the Republican party has simply gotten out of control as kingmakers. This was clear in the 2000 election, when McCain, a strong leader with a solid background, a mind of his own and heroic military service was passed over for an empty suit with a bankable name, and the “correct” religious reprogramming that could be easily shaped and formed to suit his backers.

Unfortunately for McCain, he waited too long in this campaign to try to get the far-right on board with him and had to do it at the time when he really needed to be talking to the undecided moderates and independents that actually decide the election. Picking Gov. Palin for the VP and hearing her on the campaign trail is a constant reminder to the moderates of how powerful the extremists are in the party. Her scolding tone and self-righteous manner are exactly what many fear about the Republican party. It is also a constant reminder of the last eight years of ideology and religion trumping knowledge and experience. It also has not helped that many of the Republicans in Congress have acted and voted a lot like the Democrats when it comes to spending and protecting sacred contributors.

Hopefully, this stunning loss of a seasoned statesman with solid conservative credentials to a smooth-talking liberal with little more than magic beans will be enough to make the Republican party wake up and realize that a major house-cleaning is in order if they want to win the White House any time soon. It took the Democrats a few cycles to also realize that they had let the extremists take over. But they finally decided that they wanted to win more than they wanted to continue to appease the ” ban all guns and save the transgender spotted owls” set in their party.

The Republican Party is a natural place for the religious right, but there is more to it than that. For many Libertarians, middle-class working families and entrepreneurs the Republican party is also a logical home because of the same basic beliefs in keeping government restricted to certain “legitimate” roles while allowing the populace a maximum of individual freedom. But in recent years, the Republican party had been so dominated by religious/morality issues that it has driven out many of us. David Brooks has a very good piece on this called “Ceding the Center.”

Here’s hoping that it doesn’t take the Republican party any longer to figure out that abortion and gays aren’t the issues that matter to a lot of Americans, especially when the economy is on the brink and we are fighting wars in two distant countries.

It’s Dole vs. Clinton again, with the same result likely

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

As election gets nearer and nearer I can’t shake the feeling that we have been here before. It sure seems like Dole vs. Clinton all over again. A young energetic voice with little national political history, who actually is black this time, vs. the aging war veteran who’s turn finally came up. And, once again, the elder statesman McCain cannot seem to close the deal with the voters.

Even with a major national/world crisis ongoing, too many of us are afraid to let someone who has a some things in common with the administration of the last eight years come in and try to fix what his peers allowed to happen. Apparently the feeling is that we really need a fresh leader in there to shake things up. Even though McCain has some distinct differences from the W. gang, the resemblance is still close enough to frighten many into trying someone with no real leadership or executive experience.

MY strongest feeling on this race is serious disappointment that these two are the best this huge nation can come up with. This is a nation that has many fine examples of leadership in many realms from many different viewpoints. It is very sad that the requirements for massive amounts of money and the media-frenzy of micro-analysis of what key someone belches in keep out so many highly qualified leaders.

One good thing that will probably come from this is that the Republican party will have to reasses itself. There are just not enough hardcore Christian conservatives and millionaire business people to give them enough votes to win any more. They are going to have to do the same sort of internal analysis that led the Democrats to through open the tent flaps and silence their own extremists in order to bring in the working people who just want to make a decent living for themselves and their family. The Democrats have finally learned to keep their rabid anti-gun crowd and transgender spotted owl supporters in a back room somewhere until after the election.

Likewise, a lot of us that have voted Republican in the past, the ones David Brooks calls “Patio Man” have had to take a long hard look at our own situation and try to decide if this Republican candidate really offers us anything. The last one told us he did, and then turned everything inside out chasing a white whale into Iraq before deciding to have his minions rewrite or reinterpret much of the Bill of Rights. Meanwhile others on his pick-up team watched idly as Katrina roared through and the greed hounds destroyed our financial system.

Can you really blame a lot of us for wondering how a President Obama could be worse? Sure, taxes will likely go up and there will be some wealth transfer for social programs that have questionable results, but we may actually get some progress in the healthcare morass. If you think the healthcare system is only broken for those at the bottom end that do not have any medical insurance, ask anyone who is self-employed or owns a small business. There is a lot wrong with our healthcare system or more precisely how it it paid for. If there is a chance that the next administration will push the insurance giants aside and actually shame Congress into making some real changes, then I’m for it.

Quite simply, the Republican party no longer represents those of us who are just trying to go to work, do our job and take care of our family . . . unless we are millionaires or evangelical Christians or both. I’m a Marine vet, and an NRA Life Member, but I may have to hold my nose and vote for Obama. Although respect McCain and his service a great deal, I’m just afraid that more of the same protection of the millionaires is going to force me to sell my guns for food, house payments and medical care before Obama, Schumer, et. al. get around to confiscating them.

We really need better choices next time.

Can we please put a sign on our building?

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

It’s too bad that there are not any attorneys on the City Council or in the Mayor’s office. Otherwise someone might have gone through the master lease agreement for the new City Hall and noticed the small item about signage needing to be approved by BOK, even if it is signage by the property owner. I don’t really blame BOK for inserting that into the agreement as standard boilerplate, but someone on the City side should have caught it and added exceptions for the property owner, at least within some predefined parameters that could have been reasonably expected since we are going to use this for City Hall and the public and visitors might need something to clarify the location of the primary public entrance.

This is the kind of stuff that happens when everything is rushed through at the last minute. This is also the type of thing that causes many of us a lot of worry about other big agreements like the downtown ballpark trust.

Now, how long is it going to take to get the appropriate people at BOK and the City to show their PUD for the sign, negotiate the details and finally hammer out an agreement.

Kathy – get someone senior in your office to call someone equally senior in Stan’s or George’s office and get this thing done now.

If the property managers at BOK can’t trust the City to put up a reasonable and professional sign that will not degrade the leasing opportunites for the rest of the space, then we want our $7 million back. Once again, it sure looks like “Tulsa – a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bank of Oklahoma.”