Graham

Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Weinergate! Another Perspective

In Politics on June 6, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Anthony Weiner is just one more distraction from the real problems we face as a nation. It may or may not be appropriate to put him through public humiliation for his “failure of character,” but before we go too far in committing to a course of action, lets consider what we might want as the desired outcome of this never-ending stream of human foibles.

Consider the following:

  • Thomas Jefferson (President 1801-1809) allegedly had an affair with his slave, Sally Hemings
  •  Grover Cleveland (President 1885-1889, 1893-1897) alleged to have fathered illegitimate child
  • Warren Harding (President 1921-1923) alleged affair with Carrie Phillips and Nan Britton
  • Franklin Roosevelt (President 1933-1945) alleged affair with Lucy Mercer—The man who guided us through the Great Depression and World War II
  • Dwight D Eisenhower (President 1953-1961) tried to end clandestine warfare, i.e., the “Cold War,” sought to establish honesty and morality in his administration; alleged affair with Kay Summersby (his chauffeur)
  • John F Kennedy (President 1961-1963) tried to dismantle the CIA and end organized crime; Created the space race; alleged affairs with Marilyn Monroe and Judith Exner
  • Lyndon B Johnson (President 1963-1969) pushed most of JFK’s program through Congress; unidentified affair alleged
  • George Bush Senior (President 1989-1993) alleged with Jennifer Fitzgerald
  • Bill Clinton (President 1993-2001) restored healthy economy; alleged affair with Monica Lewinsky

Each of these former presidents has something in common with Mr. Weiner: Had we drummed even one of them out of Government for behaving badly, history would have been quite different, not to mention the setting of, or reinforcement of, a precedent that moves us one step closer to the loss of certain “inalienable rights.” Despite what we may think is a flaw in his character, he seems to have some impressive company.

It appears that Mr Weiner has broken no laws (this may change, but presumably a change would result in less of a circus and more of a judicial process); He doesn’t appear to have lied about his experience, qualifications, or performance; in fact his constituents seem to hold him in high regard. (It is true he did lie about his predicament for 10 days, but how many of us would not try to lie our way out of the biggest mistake we ever made in our lives?

As for the nebulous connection between character and morality, this country was established as a nation of laws. Morality is an opinion, often based on religious beliefs and  sometimes codified in the law (wherein lies the confusion). In an ideal world, Mr Weiner would have to commit a felony before it became anybody’s business outside his immediate family. It seems that voters are, in general, more aware of this fact than are their elected representatives. The magic word is still jobs, not weiners.

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It Must Be Frustrating To Be President

In Politics on October 7, 2009 at 8:32 am

While I sit here trying to jump start my day, I begin to remember that George W Bush was a man of few words, for the most part because he thought his actions were none of our business. Imagine that … a democracy where the questionable actions of a few are none of our business. Bush was criticized for being the least open / most secretive president ever to serve, and for taking action where none was required.

Obama is one of the most open presidents in modern times, and conducts himself such that almost everything is our business. Yet he too is constantly criticized: for communicating too much and taking too little action. The difference seems to be that Obama understands the dangers of shooting from the hip, and the commitment that must be made for years following such actions.

Particularly offensive is the mantra that Obama must prove himself by taking us into war, in spite of the fact that he stated clearly during the campaign that he would talk first, shoot later (but only if we were under immediate threat). I wonder if some of us have trouble understanding the concept of leadership. Obama is not a manager, or a military professional. He is first and foremost a world leader.

Guess what a world leader does? They communicate, they talk, they guide. They only appear to act to satisfy those who don’t understand that leadership is primarily motivating others to act. Rest assured, the professionals who “manage” the people and resources assigned to our safety and protection make recommendations, but Obama makes the decision (unlike the Cheney / Bush method, where it wasn’t always clear who was in charge). Most of us don’t want that awesome power abused.

Copyright © 2009 by Tad Laury Graham

Throw The Bums Out!

In Economic Crisis on October 3, 2008 at 7:52 pm

As I sit here watching the 19th rehash of the vice-presidential debates on CNN, I realize that I am not particularly surprised that there is corruption in Washington—that almost everyone lies, that we substitute personal attacks for campaign issues, and that virtually all of our representatives profit, many illegally, from their positions of public trust. What does surprise me is our business as usual approach to the global economic meltdown, literally while Rome burns.

The more we learn about this package, the more it looks like everyone got a piece of the pie, the result of which diverts 110 billion dollars away from the bailout. And for what? To pay for a stock car race track, wooden arrows for children, reduce taxes on the rum imported from the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and nearly 1/2 billion dollars to keep movie making in Hollywood—to name a few. From all indicators, it is nearly impossible to find anyone who has read the parts pertaining to the bailout.

While lawmakers were making sure they got theirs, another 159,000 jobs were lost in September (about 750,000 since the first of the year), and state governments were weighing in with more financial issues. California alone needs seven billion dollars just to continue essential services. And somewhere along the way we hear the stimulus package is actually aimed at credit markets. It all seems complicated, doesn’t it? How can anyone figure out what to do?

And then it happened. Larry King had had enough. “Anymore interrupting and I turn off the mike.” Suddenly, it was no longer acceptable for three people to get their three different sound-bites out simultaneously by shouting louder than anyone else. We had to take turns. It was really that simple: control of the mike was the only defense at Larry’s disposal to make people do the right thing, but it worked, it was simple and efficient, and it underscored what we already knew, that sometimes we just have to make an effective threat.

As voters, we also have one simple but effective means to alter the outcome. It would involve severe blood letting, which we may have felt was overkill—up until now. But the time has come: the only way we are going to get Washington to change is to fire nearly every incumbent up for reelection, with very few exceptions. It may sound draconian, but I am absolutely convinced that at least for a decade or two, we would have their attention. And just maybe we would get our country back in the process.

Copyrighted © 2008 by Tad Laury Graham