Thursday, January 31, 2008

Establishment Pols Boarding Good Ship McCain: American Political Status Quo At Stake

When Arizona Senator John McCain was running for president in the 2000 race, and I volunteered to help his campaign, he was known as a "maverick" Republican who stood up against the GOP establishment and would shake up the status quo.

That was the same label given to Connecticut's one-term "maverick" governor Lowell Weicker, who really did shake things up when he reneged on his most important campaign promise by successfully pushing for a state income tax.

But in recent days, as mayors and governors with a less than conservative reputation jump on his bandwagon, it is hard to apply the term maverick to McCain any longer.

In fact, it is not unreasonable to consider that those who are supporting McCain have far more left-leaning reputations than some Democrats. These include former New York Mayor and former presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell.

Giuliani, who was the media choice for the GOP nomination until the Florida primary, not only says he is supporting McCain, but he is 'releasing' his supporters to do the same. One problem with that endorsement is that Giuliani is considered liberal, despite being a registered Republican, and even a huge influx of liberal New York City "snowbirds" couldn't help him make a respectable showing in Florida.

Schwarzenegger, who was originally considered to be a conservative, has lost much of his California GOP base due to his support of liberal causes once he was elected. Observers close to the political scene in California say his base now consists more of liberal Democrats. His endorsement might give McCain media attention, but not necessarily support from the GOP faithful.

Similarly, Jodi Rell, Connecticut's governor, was roundly criticized in her own party in the 2006 election in which she won handily, but did little to nothing to help her under-ticket, which went down to flaming defeat in a state where the Democrats man most of the top posts and have veto proof majorities in both houses of the Legislature.

Rell is a registered Republican, yet in the 2006 race she took huge donations from liberal Democrats. In December, 2005, for instance, the state media was focused on a minor scandal in which Rell's aide had distributed to state department heads - on state time - "be there or else" invitations to a Rell fund-raiser.

But while that fund-raiser, held at a popular eatery in East Hartford, a blue-collar town where the Pratt & Whitney aircraft engine manufacturer still the dominates the landscape, was in constant focus, little attention was given to another Rell money-maker in wealthy Litchfield on the western side of the state.

There, Rell was the star at a party hosted by liberal Democrats who charged a $2,500 per person entrance fee, and Republicans were an endangered species.

Rell further angered both her base and the party hierarchy last year when her budget proposal included a 10 percent increase in the state income tax that Weicker instituted, and which cost him his political career.

Questions abounded on why the state would need an increase in the income tax, when it has posted billion dollar surpluses in each of the previous three years. With its roads and infrastructure in decline, an ongoing scandal involving a huge rebuilding project on Interstate 84, and taxpayers in revolt over crushing property taxes, it was left to the GOP minority in the Legislature to come up with a palatable budget, a major slap in the face to the governor.

Rell and a handful of state party officials will be on hand in Fairfield County this Sunday for McCain's whistle stop. It is interesting that he is appearing in Fairfield, a county where there is a lot of money, but not so many Republicans.

McCain has not announced plans to visit the eastern side of the state where there are plenty of Republicans but they tend to write checks with far fewer zeroes.

It is obvious that in some parts of the GOP hierarchy, the left side of the party is coalescing, and circling the wagons around one of their own, John McCain. Apparently, Mike Huckabee's popularity and focus on the Fair Tax, and Mitt Romney's success and financial independence are worrisome to those who support the status quo in Washington, D.C.

McCain is no longer a maverick. He is the status quo. He is the establishment. The only question that remains now is whether voters really are sick of what has transpired in our nation's capital since Ronald Reagan left office, or are they the ones who have been giving lip service to the media, and will vote to maintain the status quo.

Oh, yeah, in the interest of fairness, the Democratic candidates are coming here too. How about, rather than giving up a great Super Bowl Sunday to go hear a political speech, we start up a new game to bet on?

We'll call it Find The Republican, and out of the three candidates now scheduled to appear in Connecticut, the goal will be to correctly identify which if any are Republicans. Not that anyone could tell the difference.

Leftists In California Bite the Hand That Protects Them

Out in the Disjointed State of California, where the Republican Governor has admitted he is a closet liberal, in the City of Berkeley, the country's best example of free speech including everyone, the City Council has voted to tell the United States Marine Corps recruiters to shut up and go home.

Dumb move. Really dumb move. For more than two hundred years hostile entities including fascists, Nazis, and Communists to name just a few, have been telling the US Marines what to do and where to go, but the Marines have forged ahead on their own path with 100 percent success.

Apparently the survivors of the various fascist, Nazi and Communist organizations that have been beaten by the Marines have taken refuge on the Berkeley City Council and think they can use the freedoms guaranteed by the US Constitution against the very people who guard those freedoms.

Included in their denunciation of the Marine Corps, the City of Berkeley passed two resolutions attacking the United States Marine Corps, calling the Marines, "uninvited and unwelcome intruders in the city."

The votes by the Berkeley City Council were immediately condemned by Move America Forward (website:, the nation's largest grassroots pro-troop organization.

"It is disgraceful that in the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, anti-military activists would attempt to silence the same military men and women who serve this country and give their lives to protect the free speech rights of all Americans, including these ungrateful and despicable people on the Berkeley City Council," said Melanie Morgan, Chairman of Move America Forward.

In addition to calling us "intruders" the whack jobs in Code Pink and other subversive organizations referred to the Marines as "barbaric."


Frankly, I have always preferred the phrase "Trained Killer!"
Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Whatever Happened to General Hospital?

I mean it, what happened to that great soap opera General Hospital? Is it still on television?

It is?

Then why, I ask you, did I turn on the news this morning to get an update on the overnight headlines, but instead was treated to non-stop soap opera-like coverage of whether Barack Obama shunned Hillary Clinton by refusing to shake her hand at the State of the Union Address Monday night?

Is this what 24-hour news coverage has come to? Non-stop, wall-to-wall celebrity junk news? Jeez. Hillary was snubbed! OH MY GAWD!! What has the free world come to?

Meanwhile the Middle East is again nearing the eruption stage, Iran is still threatening to wipe Israel off the map with nuclear missiles, the dollar is all over the board on foreign markets, a "stimulus package" that has a very uncomfortable resemblance to the return of welfare is working its way through Congress, China is planning a military coup - on US! - Russia's Vladimir Putin is hoping our national focus is so drawn to nonsense that we won't be watching him hatch his latest plot, the National Organization of Women is split over Ted Kennedy endorsing Obama, but all we can report on is whether or not Hillary Clinton was snubbed!?

Good grief!

And that doesn't even count as a snub! You want to snub someone and be a world leader too? Then take some lessons from the Jedi Master of all world leaders and in-your-face, brass knuckle politicians.

That's right, Vice President Dick Cheney, my favorite guy in government!

When Cheney has something to say, he doesn't turn his back and use body language. He gets right up in your face and says "go f**k yourself!" Remember Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, who had the bad judgment to give Cheney lip back in 2004?

Yeah, that guy. He learned, didn't he? And guess what? Cheney's poll numbers went up, not down! Pretty much tells you what the American public thinks of twinkle-toed politicians who don't have either the backbone or intestinal fortitude to speak the truth.

Hell man, when Barack refused to acknowledge Hillary's outstretched hand, she should have grabbed him by the lapels, and growled "Hey, wise guy, one more stunt like that and you and I are going hunting with the Vice President!"

That would have jacked Barack up big time.

Oh, and while we're on the subject of sneaky snubs, did you see that photo of Barack trying to project a thoughtful pose with two fingers, the index and middle finger, up to his lips?

Yeah, well that wasn't thoughtful, that was inside politician sign language that really was a major insult to the president. Seriously. What Barack was actually thinking was, "Man if I could just drop this index finger, you'd know what I really think of you, Dude!"

Anyone who ever spent any time inside politics or out on the streets knows that. That little piece of sign language is the not-too-distant cousin of putting up three fingers - the middle finger and one on each side - and saying "camouflage!" Obviously our national news producers and reporters have led comfortable, sheltered lives.

Barack should have just come out and said it, instead of going all high-minded and sneaky. Who knows, he might have beaten Hillary in Florida!

How about instead of celebrity watching we use the dead spots in the news coverage to review things from the previous years that still are relevant?

Remember the anti-Gen. Petraeus advertisement that Move On ran in the New York Times last September? Why not a few minutes on the Democrats being invested in defeat that has turned to victory? Or is that too raw for regular coverage?

How about corn prices? Or, let's investigate whether corn-based ethanol programs are working?

Hey, I have a great idea? Why not report that John McCain beat Mitt Romney in Florida's GOP primary yesterday? That is news isn't it? And to do a really good job on the story let's follow up on the Fox News exit polls that had Romney matching McCain for the military vote?

What's up with that? A good analyst would delve into that in a heartbeat.

Nah, never happen. Yesterday's news. Far better to predict what will happen next week than to give us a solid report on what happened yesterday.

For the record - the media's prediction that Rudy Giuliani would win Florida and thus the GOP candidacy, fell flat. In fact, on the scale that was created to judge Fred Thompson's campaign, Giuliani went down through disappointing, shot past dismal, plummeted beyond embarrassing, and landed somewhere between ill-conceived and "you gotta be kidding."

Considering how few people in Florida voted for Giuliani after he spent half his lifetime and most of his fortune trying to win votes there, I could not care less who gets his endorsement, and it won't affect my decision when I vote next Tuesday at all.

Why don't you put that in your headline?
Monday, January 28, 2008

Mea Culpa On Fred Thompson; Billary and McCain, A White House Menage à Trois?

Mea Culpa means it's my fault.

After a week of turning this over in my mind I have decided that the best thing I can say about Fred Thompson backing out of the GOP presidential primary race after so many people, myself included, wanted to see him continue, is that it is my fault for supporting his candidacy.

It is NOT my fault that the polls ahead of the South Carolina primary and the Iowa caucuses were inaccurate, nor that Thompson appeared to be having some relationship problems with Fox News, which consistently counted him out of the race when others were hoping he would stay in. I liked having Thompson in the race, every bit as much as I like having Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney in the race.

They are bringing fresh perspectives, new ideas, new faces and a real debate to the process this season. I hadn't decided and still haven't on who will get my vote. That will be decided based on who is left in the race. But I really wanted Thompson to stay in the race, and I will take personal responsibility for everything I wrote in support of that position.

A lot of people with a much higher profile than mine were on the Thompson bandwagon too, and they are understandably disappointed that he quit. People went out of their way to help Thompson's campaign with issues, PR, and even access to potential donors, lots of potential donors.

All of these efforts went nowhere, and there is a lot of discussion behind the scenes as to whether Thompson even knew that people were trying to help him. Or, that he did know, but wasn't serious about the race.

It seems at this juncture that all the questions are irrelevant, except that once again, a big chunk of the electorate is turned off to the process.

Some are saying that Thompson now is on the short list for John McCain's candidacy as a potential vice presidential nominee. I'm not sure I would go down that road, however.

One informal poll, on conservative talk radio hostess Melanie Morgan's website addresses exactly that question - would you vote for John McCain if Fred Thompson was his running mate? As of this morning, the response has been an overwhelming "No!"

Melanie is one of those high-profile, nationally known commentators who went out on a limb for Thompson. She has discussed Thompson pulling out, so to speak, on her morning radio show on KSFO in San Francisco. Like many others, Melanie says she hasn't come to a conclusion on whether his campaign was beset by incompetence or sabotage.

I don't suppose it matters much any longer. What's done is done.

Yet, it is interesting how people will see the same situation but describe it differently. I saw Thompson's third place, out-of-nowhere finish in Iowa as a sign that if he got serious about the campaign he would be a front-runner.

When I saw veterans and others travelling great distances to help him out in South Carolina, and his campaign continually meeting its fund-raising goals, I figured they were sure signs that he could do well on Super Tuesday, February 5, when Republicans across the country will be voting in primaries that are open to only Republicans.

His third place finish in South Carolina should have been a good sign of things to come. Thompson saw it as a defeat.

True warriors don't quit when they are still breathing and have the means to continue the fight. The battles that have been won by sheer determination when all seemed hopeless are legendary.

Fred Thompson's campaign will not go down in history as one of them. That isn't my fault, but I am sorry about it.


On the current events scene, John McCain and Mitt Romney are battling for the lead in Florida's GOP primary tomorrow. Florida is another one of those states that has been labelled a "Big Deal" by the media, because the Florida primary is the only game in town tomorrow.

In truth, like the other primaries before, Florida doesn't carry as much weight as it should because it went out of the national party approved rotation and now will bring only half its usual complement of delegates to the national convention.

Two months ago Rudy Giuliani, (remember him?) was the media-anointed sure-fire winner of Florida's vote, since he was the only guy in the race then. Now he is way back.

McCain was last week's media-anointed winner, but Romney has been working very hard in Florida, and according to my on-the-scene associates, the state-wide polls are leaning in Romney's direction by several points, regardless of what the national pollsters say.

McCain also has run into a firestorm of controversy over his stance on immigration. He backed a bill that everyone but him saw as offering amnesty to illegal aliens, then said he got the message and won't go that route any more, and now it turns out a senior adviser on his campaign is a major proponent of open borders.

McCain has picked up some big endorsements from the Florida Republican establishment, but now we have to wonder if those endorsements would have been forthcoming if Florida's governor and other GOP office holders had seen the news on the immigration front.

It is interesting to say the least that many in the Democratic race already are putting down money that the presidential race will come down to Hillary Clinton and McCain.

That apparently is a dream come true for the DC political insider establishment, as well as the Democratic party. McCain, Hillary and Bill Clinton are portrayed as good friends and the word on the Internet is that they would not pick each other apart if they were running against each other for president.

Check out this quote attributed to Bill Clinton, that I found at the Steady Habits blog:

"She (Hillary) and John McCain are very close, they always laugh that if they wound up being the nominees of their party, it would be the most civilized election in American history, and they're afraid they'd put the voters to sleep because they like and respect each other."

That would certainly nullify the issue of McCain and his conduct on the Senate Select Committee on POW-MIA affairs that I wrote about last week. Not that the issue will die, judging from the emails I have received since that column appeared, just that it wouldn't be pushed by Hillary.

Rather it would be pushed by families of POWs and MIAs and probably would turn off enough Republican voters that Hillary would be a shoo-in. You see, I don't think most Republicans are all that caught up in the question of who is the most conservative candidate.

I think Republicans are caught up in who is the most Republican candidate. Each of the contenders in the GOP race has some conservative issues on their side, and each has some that work against them.

My personal political philosophy is that I favor smaller government, limited government intrusion into private matters, a level of taxation that is necessary only to support the government we need, plus a contingency for emergencies. I am strong on national defense, and as the son of an immigrant, I believe that everyone who wants to live in the US should come here legally, and bring some skills with them. That pretty much defines me as a Republican.

I have a lot of friends who define themselves as Democrats, not because of what we see on the national scene, but because on the local level they believe government should have a larger role in our lives, with taxes adjusted to support that view. We may disagree on that, but we agree on many other things, so it is easy to stay friends and neighbors.

As far as the friendship between Billary and McCain all I can say is what I said last week about the Clintons when their backs are against the wall. Go back and watch Mrs. Clinton on the attack in the debate just before the South Carolina primary.

There you will see what John McCain will get if he runs against her.

And you can bet your life, that if it comes down to a final fight between Billary and McCain, and he asks her (them) for a civil dialogue, with the presidency of the United States, leadership of the free world, and their collective legacy on the line, she will fix her baby blues in Bill's direction, place her hand lovingly on his arm, smile adoringly at him, then turn to her opponent, and say with all sincerity, "John, my friend, my war hero opponent ... Go Screw Yourself!"
Sunday, January 27, 2008

Barack Spanks Billary In S.C.; The Clinton Seeks "Divine Intervention!" Jan. 27, 1973, A Day That Lives in Ignominy

Hillary Clinton didn't even wait around for the official results in South Carolina. She knew she was getting trounced, but rather than suffer the indignity of giving one of those Fred Thompson speeches before an audience of supporters that had nothing to cheer about, she beat feet for Tennessee.

I can't really blame her. It is far better to have an upbeat speech in a place where you haven't had your head handed to you, than a downer in a place where you have, knowing full well which one the media will play over, and over and over.

Returning to what would appear to be my favorite subject, but really isn't, I don't think the polls had her getting blasted into oblivion in South Carolina. Losing yes, but by a 30-point margin, I don't think so. Or maybe they did, but the news media just didn't let the rest of us, the people who buy the papers and tune in to the news shows, in on it.

There was plenty of in-depth analysis of Hillary's loss on the Sunday talk shows, mainly centering on the enormity of the black vote for Barack and how many black people didn't vote for Mrs. Clinton.

Lest we forget, this particular vote wasn't supposed to be about race. It was supposed to be about choosing between three major Democratic contenders, one of whom, the guy who won in a state where more than 50 percent of the Democratic voters are black, also just happens to be black.

To his credit, Barack Obama did his best not to go into this from a racial standpoint, while Billary did everything they could to make sure the vote was racially driven. Barack does not see his candidacy as a racial issue and every American should be proud of him for his conduct and his message.

Unfortunately, the voters in South Carolina do see it that way and that is the rub. Because out in the rest of America, black voters don't carry the same weight as they do in South Carolina - they don't have the numbers.

Which means black voters in South Carolina fell right into the Clintons' trap and now in every other state this will be a racial contest. Not that black voters should be counted out in future primaries. The black vote is still a significant demographic in the Democratic Party, as evidenced by Hillary making sure everyone knew that she would attend Sunday church services in a black church in Tennessee today.

I don't know which is more hypocritical, that she is going to church, or that she is going to a black church.

Does anyone else remember Hillary and Bill and Chelsea going to church every Sunday for the eight years they occupied the White House? Jimmy Carter yes, the Clintons, no.

Maybe they did. Maybe they really are devout Christians, not on the level of evangelicals, but still, solid, upright, God-fearing Christian Americans. Maybe it's just me, and I wasn't paying attention.

Or, maybe she has decided that now it's a good thing to be seen in church and is just engaged in political posturing and hypocrisy.

It also is bemusing that she is going to a "black" church, which apparently is the only kind of racially oriented church that is allowed to exist in America. I realize that other ethnic societies tend to group together for a generation or two until assimilation takes place. But while their churches, and especially the names of their churches, may reflect their ethic heritage, I don't recall that other people aren't allowed there, or welcome there.

This extends to Barack too, who has made a point of letting people know he isn't a Muslim, but, as has been extensively discussed on the Internet, tends not to talk about his membership in a "black" church that discourages, if not outright bans, attendance by whites.

I was raised in the Methodist Church, attending from the time I was a toddler until I left home to join the Marines. The first, the Center Brunswick Methodist Church, still stands in the community of the same name. My uncle Bob, who started attending that church when he was in his mid-teens, still goes there and has been a member for nearly 90 years, which should tell you something about my uncle Bob.

The second, the Pawling Avenue Methodist Church, in Troy, New York, had a sign outside telling passersby its name and denomination. It also had one other sign, over the main entrance door. It said WELCOME.

Not welcome, white guys only, or Methodists only, or Protestants only, or even Christians only. It just said Welcome, and as I remember it, everyone who wanted to attend there was welcome. Interesting.

On the political front, it may or may not matter that Hillary went to a black church in Tennessee today. It probably matters a lot more that Juan Williams, a regular commentator on Fox News Sunday noted that the Clintons were passing out "walking around money" to black leaders in South Carolina. Isn't that vote buying? It also probably matters that many of South Carolina's black leaders didn't jump on the Barack bandwagon even as the rank and file did.

Watch for that to have a bigger impact further down the primary trail than it did yesterday.

(By the way, Juan Williams was right when he predicted, before the South Carolina Republican primary, that Fred Thompson would leave the Republican race. I looked at all the evidence that said he didn't have to, but Juan obviously knew the man, and the inside workings of Thompson's campaign far better than I did. Chalk that one up for Juan.)

Mrs. Clinton is now focused on states that will be voting in the next couple of weeks, and probably will do much better elsewhere. Meanwhile, the Republicans, especially Mitt Romney and John McCain, with Mike Huckabee running as a spoiler on McCain's side, are fighting down to the wire in the Florida primary.

I think Romney will take Florida, which is just a hunch, but it is my hunch, and then we'll be done with these "boutique" primaries and we can get down to real primaries, with full slates of delegates, decided only by Republicans. Then we'll see which candidate the rank and file Republicans like, rather than which one the Beltway insiders and media like - if there is anyone left.

A Day That Lives in Ignominy

One last note. Today is the 35th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Peace Accords, a capitulation of American values in Vietnam that ultimately led to the slaughter of more than 3 million residents of Southeast Asia, specifically in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

The Paris Peace Accords stand as the most significant betrayal of Democracy, the American populace, the South Vietnamese, and the other allies who stood with us in that effort to contain the spread of communism since Neville Chamberlain betrayed Europe and brought about the Second World War.

Two years after the Peace Accords were signed, the communists in North Vietnam again invaded the south, and the American government stood by idly, watching impassively as the screaming populace that had believed we would never abandon them, was left to a horrible fate. They were thrown into concentration camps, murdered by death squads, starvation and forced labor, and ultimately, a million refugees known as The Boat People, tried by any means available to flee the horrors of communist rule.

Virtually simultaneously Laos and Cambodia fell to murderous communist forces. Mass extermination ultimately left millions dead and millions displaced.

The saddest aspect of the end of South Vietnam was that the American military, which had forced the communists to the brink of surrender, before politicians intervened, was blamed for the debacle that resulted two years after the Peace Accords were signed. The South Vietnamese military also had defeated the communists, after the north invaded over Easter of 1972 and lost the biggest battle of the war to the South Vietnamese ground forces backed by American air power.

Yet, less than a year later, conspirators, collaborators and spineless, mewling, fawning, acquiescent, weak-kneed bureaucrats and politicians in Washington, D.C., and Paris, France handed to the communists what their armies had been unable to take by force in over 15 years of war. Less than two years later the lie of the Paris Accords was made all too obvious to the world, and the slaughter was on.

Ignominy means disgrace. I noticed that the media didn't do much in the way of covering this date.
Sunday, January 20, 2008

South Carolina Results (Yawn) As Expected - Except Thompson Defies Fox Polls!

After all the hoopla, John McCain won the South Carolina primary. Imagine that, a decorated war hero POW winning the prize in the state with the country's biggest concentration of military personnel and vets per capita.

Mike Huckabee came in second. Imagine that, an evangelical Baptist minister gets the silver medal in a state with a huge evangelical population, especially in the ranks of Republican voters.

To put it into perspective, McCain and Huckabee did well in a relatively small state that has a population less than half of New York City and was tailor-made for their campaigns, but yielded only a small number of convention delegates.

For their efforts, McCain received 18 delegates and Huckabee got 6. That won't get either of them a cup of coffee at the National Convention, although it got both of them plenty of publicity. I'd love to see how that translates into dollars per delegate, based on how much each spent there.

Fred Thompson came in third which was - wait a minute! What? Thompson came in third? Ahead of Mitt Romney? NO! Say It Isn't So?

How can this be? He is supposed to be dead! Fox News said so! All week long before the vote, Fox News said he was trailing Mitt Romney - and they always added that Romney wasn't even in the South Carolina race. Thompson's poll numbers didn't move, Fox said. His support wasn't there, Fox said.

Actually, Romney was very much in the South Carolina race, pouring millions into ads, media, and staff. Romney himself took the last two weeks off from South Carolina to go to Michigan and Nevada to pick up a couple of easy wins and quick delegate counts, but his campaign was still very active in South Carolina. Shouldn't Fox be counting him out? It seems odd that instead, Fox claims Michigan, where Romney ran nearly unopposed, gave him a whopping 20 delegates that put "new life" into his candidacy.

Regarding the polls, I thought it a bit odd that when the Real Clear Politics average, which I have questioned here in the recent past, started showing Thompson closing the gap on Romney, Fox switched to its own poll which showed Thompson's numbers declining!

But here is the rub. Fox News on Saturday was showing Thompson coming in a distant fourth with 11 percent of the vote, plus or minus 4 percent. But Thompson came in a solid third with 16 percent of the vote which means that Fox not only was wrong, but it was outside of its own margin of error!

Am I the only one who has noticed that Fox wasn't talking about that on Sunday morning? Instead, Fox commentators were intoning Fred Is Dead.

Now, compare that little bit of propaganda with media reporting on Hillary Clinton. They are saying she won Nevada because she took the popular vote, but Barack Obama actually won the delegate count - by the turn of a card, no kidding. He got 13 delegates, she got 12! Big whoop!

But get this. Hillary Clinton won Nevada with a total of 5,353 votes, about six hundred more than Barack. Yeah, Five Thousand. That's it! Boy, it doesn't get much better than that! Really, it doesn't. For all the noise about the Democratic caucus in Nevada on Saturday, that was the sum total of interest in yet another state that despite its huge land size has a population similar to Connecticut's.

Fred Thompson came in third in South Carolina with nearly 67,000 votes! There is absolutely no comparison reporting going on out there.

Not one of these candidates who have been spinning their wheels for months now has enough delegates - the number that really matters - to offset the potential delegate count if there is a big winner in Florida on January 29.

All I heard on Sunday is that Thompson had a "disappointing" showing in South Carolina - which means what for Romney - "devastating?"

I guess that "disappointing" is better than the "dismal" showing that Fox was predicting on Saturday, along with its horrendously erroneous poll numbers. You realize don't you that the margin by which Fox was wrong on Thompson is more than the spread in the last presidential election?

If we can put any faith in the polls whatsoever, which probably is in the area of long term trends rather than instantaneous analysis, they show that Thompson is within striking distance of the rest of the pack in Florida. One poll shows McCain, Huckabee, Giuliani and Romney all with a point or two of either other - all under 20 percent, and Thompson about five or six points back which gives him plenty of opportunity to knock some of the others out and grab some delegates.

Has it occurred to anyone else that in the two races where Thompson has actively competed, Iowa and South Carolina, he has been discounted as a non-factor each time, listed behind other candidates who have boutique constituencies in these states, yet each time he beat one of the other major candidates. He beat McCain in Iowa and he beat Romney in South Carolina. Shouldn't that count for something?

Why does this automatically amount to Fred is Dead?

I have a question. Which came first, the news or the polls? Are the polls driving the news or is the news driving the polls?

How about some real political analysis for a change instead of these self-fulfilling prophecies posing as news? The polls are flawed and have been on both sides since the Iowa caucus. The polls should not be the deciding factor on who gets coverage and who does not.

There is a long, long way to go in this race for both Democrats and Republicans. Nothing has happened to any of the major contenders since January 1, with the possible exception of John Edwards, that should force them to withdraw from the race. It is less than a month to Super Tuesday, Florida comes before that, and as far as I can see everyone is still viable.

Giuliani, who was the anointed candidate six months ago, is being portrayed as making a huge blunder by focusing on Florida. Thompson, for whatever reason, can't seem to get a single positive story about his campaign, especially when compared to the coverage most of his Republican rivals receive.

Romney has been counted out a couple of times, but I think he actually has made some very good moves and is in a good position. This isn't over, not by a long shot, and I'd hate to see any contender drop out at this point just because of erroneous polls and off-the-mark political commentators pushing their own agendas.
Friday, January 18, 2008

Fred Thompson Doing Much Better in S.C. Than Media Suggests! Vets Head South to Help Fred's Campaign

After the polling debacles of Iowa and New Hampshire is anyone other than the news media paying any attention to what the polls are saying about tomorrow's GOP primary in South Carolina?

I'm not. There are too many polls, with too many competing agendas, and they have become this season's equivalent of the Robo Calls from previous campaigns that drove voters to distraction.

At this juncture in my life, having been a registered voter since I turned 21, which was just in time to vote in the presidential election of 1968 - a fortunate turn of events since I had already been in Vietnam for six months - I have never been called by a pollster.

I have voted in local, regional, state and national elections ever since '68. I have voted in referendums on budgets, building projects, land purchases and God knows what else. But I have never been called by a pollster and I don't know of anyone who has been called by a pollster.

In fact, the bulk of the polls rely on the responses of about 800-900 people, a number which wouldn't win a municipal election even in my little corner of paradise! So how are these minute-by-minute updates of what a small group of anonymous respondents say supposed to be a reliable reflection of what is really going on in people's minds?

Just before the Iowa caucus I had the laugh of the campaign season when Fox News interviewed a young woman at an outdoor skating rink, who said she was hiding out from the campaign Robo calls. She ended the segment saying she was considering seeking a restraining order to make Hillary Clinton leave her alone!

Hiding out from political phone calls could be on the way to Olympic Sport status at this rate. Another possibility for that distinction is the revered sport of giving answers to pollsters that are contrary to what the respondent actually believes. It is apparent after the made-for-media political events of the last few weeks that many Americans are as fed up with polling as they are with campaign calls.

There are myriad uses for well-done polls. A major sampling of opinions on any issue can be of great value, especially for long-term planning. But for something as volatile as a person's opinion on a primary vote, in which a two- or three-week window of intense campaigning can change thousands of minds, doesn't seem to be working out that well.

There are still at least five major Republican contenders, three major Democrat contenders, and a couple of candidates in each party who don't seem to be going anywhere. But trying to make sense out of who likes whom on a daily basis is polling overload.

Even the polling 'averages' are suspect, since there is no way to determine from just looking at the average how many polls were included, when they were done, who did them, and what questions were asked. The average "trends" posted before both Iowa and New Hampshire turned out to be dead wrong, so why should we trust them today?

For instance, Fox News has been running a Real Clear Politics average on the polls in South Carolina several times a day for at least a week. But last week that poll included some numbers for Fred Thompson that were taken in the days leading up to the Iowa caucus, in which Thompson was given virtually no chance of a decent showing, yet he leaped ahead of John McCain to take third place.

This 'average' now says Thompson is a distant fourth in the South Carolina race, behind McCain, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney, but there are strong indications that this is not the case. News reports say the crowds at Thompson events are already standing room and getting bigger. He doesn't need specialty camera shots to make crows appear bigger than they are, as is the case with some of his rivals.

The Vets For Fred organization mounted a major, and by all accounts successful, push to put veteran 'boots on the ground' in South Carolina to work for the Thompson campaign. Reporters acknowledge that Thompson's campaign apparatus is the best in South Carolina as he travels across the state to meet and great in person.

Even the media correspondents who are covering the race don't seem to be all that reliant on the polls.

For instance, the RCP average that puts Thompson behind Mitt Romney moved Fox News political correspondent Carl Cameron to note at 10:33 a.m. Friday, "That's probably not the case!" He noted that while Thompson is putting a major effort into the South Carolina primary, Romney has pulled out of that state and isn't campaigning there at all!

Are you kidding? If a capable professional such as Carl Cameron who is on the ground and reporting what he is seeing doesn't believe the polls, why the hell should I? And answer me this please. If the poll numbers from the Iowa and New Hampshire races were dead-assed wrong, by big margins, why on earth would you include them in any average looking forward to tomorrow's primary?

The conventional wisdom in political punditry also puts Thompson out of the race if he doesn't win South Carolina. Well, maybe the pundits should take a closer look at Thompson's website

In the past two weeks he has achieved three major Internet fund-raising goals, hitting the mark and then some each time. The last included a drive to donate $10 at 10 p.m., that helped him go over the top on a $1 million effort.

Not only has he reached past goals, but if you look closely, you'll see his next milestone is not today, or even tomorrow, Primary Day in South Carolina. Thompson's next fund-raising goal is Monday, Jan. 21!

Does that sound like a campaign that is folding its tents?

Not to me it doesn't.

The issue with South Carolina, just as with Iowa and New Hampshire, is that there are unique blocks of voters in each state who can give a momentary advantage to one candidate that isn't likely to carry through the later primaries.

McCain for instance, is a sure favorite among many veterans in South Carolina which gives the former Navy officer and POW from the Vietnam War an advantage similar to what Huckabee enjoys among evangelical Christians. South Carolina has a huge veteran population with more than 50 percent of the households including at least one person who is or was in the military.

Even though the group Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain is drawing attention in South Carolina, he is likely to win the bulk of the military vote tomorrow. In fact, the anti-McCain effort could work in his favor.

The group is publicizing its dislike for McCain due to his actions in partnership with Massachusetts Senator John Kerry on a Senate committee reviewing the fate of some 300 live American POWs left behind in Laos after the Paris Peace Accords were signed. McCain is pictured as not only resistant to pleas to investigate live sighting reports in-depth, but also as being dismissive beyond rudeness to families who were pleading to keep the issue alive.

McCain's committee ultimately dropped the investigations into live POW-MIA sightings by declaring that regardless of what happened to our servicemen in Laos in 1973, they all are dead now. But many veterans and POW-MIA family members are not at all satisfied with that decision.

However, the media has portrayed the veteran dissatisfaction with McCain as stemming from claims that he collaborated with the North Vietnamese communists when he was held captive. That claim, regardless of its veracity, could backfire against McCain's opponents and result in the veteran community closing ranks around one of its own.

Thompson, decried that approach, saying it went "over the line" of appropriate campaigning.

Nonetheless, the truth about South Carolina is the same as the truth about Iowa and New Hampshire. The voters will have the say and they will do that regardless of what any news reporters or polls say.

New Hampshire and Iowa allowed independents and Democrats to vote in the Republican primaries which I believe is a huge mistake, and gives us results that do not reflect national GOP opinions. South Carolina has its own concentrations of voters who could also give momentary momentum to one person or another.

But interestingly, Rudy Giuliani, like Romney, is not campaigning in South Carolina, and is instead focusing all his energy on Florida's January 29 primary. If Giuliani wins a majority in each of Florida's congressional districts, he will walk away with way more delegates than any of the other candidates have amassed in all the other contests so far! Which will make all the talk about Iowa, and New Hampshire, and Michigan and South Carolina and Nevada just that, talk.

Then comes the Super Tuesday contests in which Republicans across the country will be voting, and then we will see who it is that Republicans really like for their presidential candidate.

The biggest impact of the campaigns so for is to see who the media likes, which gives us an opportunity to question their motives.

We are a couple of weeks from finding out who the real front-runners are in this contest, and frankly, I can wait until then to see if the polls had any idea at all, or were just pushing wishful thinking.
Thursday, January 17, 2008

Do Female Suicide Bombers Get Boy Virgins? Al Qaeda Leaders Hiding Behind Their Mommas' Burqas!

Hey, don't go getting all huffy with me over that headline. This is a serious inquiry.

It seems the bad boys in the Al Qaeda leadership have just about exhausted their supply of knuckle dragging, functionally illiterate male suicide bombers who blow themselves and everyone around them to eternity. To replace these hapless, murderous dupes who willingly spread their earthly remains all over the cityscape because they actually believe they will be waited on for the rest of whatever by 72 virgins, our favorite terrorist organizations are now using women!

I don't know if the virgins are supposed to supply sexual favors for the male suicide bombers in addition to their other duties, and if they are it is a self-defeating prophecy, since your average sexually active male would exhaust the supply in short order.

But since Al Qaeda is now dishonoring the very basis of its own philosophy by sending women to fight in place of its "men," it is reasonable to inquire whether the women suicide bombers get the same reward as the men.

Then again, if they do, doesn't this fly in the face of the terrorists' version of femininity? I mean, a woman can get raped, butchered, sexually disfigured, stoned, and scorned just by riding in a car with an unauthorized male. What does that make her if she has an inexhaustible supply of young men - assuming that she would want young men instead of old men - to attend to her sexual needs and desires for ever?

What if she gets to eternity and asks Allah for the same consideration that he gives to males who kill themselves in his name? If a male suicide bomber becomes the ultimate symbol of Muslim manhood by killing innocent women and children, what does that make a woman suicide bomber?

Is Allah going to go hypocrite on her and say "No? I don't think so!"

And I am NOT insulting Islam here.

Everything I have seen and read says that Allah is a just and merciful God. OK. To me, justice and mercy means equal rewards for equal efforts. Or, is that just propaganda from Al Qaeda and the Taliban?

Regardless, what we have here, is a bunch of quintessential losers hiding behind their mommas' burqas! They can't con any more guys to do their dirty work, so now they are using women to do their fighting for them!

Wow! Sign me right up for that group. Yessir! Al Qaeda and the Taliban. We're Looking For A Few Stupid Women (Because We Ran Out of Stupid Boys.)

Can you imagine being a recruiter for that bunch? Do these guys bring portfolios with them, showing the pay and promotion schedule and a complete list of benefits?

"Hey, young dude, young lady! Don't worry about that college education. In Eternity you won't need one!"

Or how about this one ... "Having trouble on the dating scene? Are you ignored, discarded, and disregarded? Well we have the answer to your social woes! One blast of white light, followed by an instant of excruciating pain, and your dreams will come true."

You have to feel sorry for somebody who would fall for a line like that. Still, if they are hiding bombs in their burqas I doubt the average intended victim would care one whit what was motivating the typical suicide bomber. I bet the average intended victim would stomp the living daylights out of the average suicide bomber without one bit of consideration for motivation if they could prevent one of those bombs from going off.

You know, it occurred to me that Iran's nutcase leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, aka Green Bean Almondine, really screwed his allies out of a potential supply of suicide bombers when he said there are no homosexuals in Iran. I am not bashing gay people here either. I just think that if they recruited cross-dressing men to dress up in burqas instead of making women do the job for them, they could at least make a stab at retaining their manly dignity.

Is there any such demographic as a gay, cross-dressing Arab Muslim? Well, if there was, they would provide a ready solution for the shortage of straight male suicide bombers, and make a good point for equal treatment at the same time. Except that gay, cross-dressing Arab Muslims would probably have too much self esteem and intelligence to fall for a dumb job like that.

What would they get in eternity as a reward for their sacrifices? Yeah, probably nothing but eternal prejudice.

Getting back to the women, I doubt that there is an extreme religious motivation behind their participation in suicide bombing campaigns. If they have paid attention during their upbringing they probably know that there is no reward for them, earthly or heavenly.

More to the point, the Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders are probably kidnapping children and old people and making the women blow themselves up to save their families. That certainly is more in line with their methodology and history of craven cowardice.

I imagine this will mean that metal detectors now will become commonplace at the entrances to marketplaces and other public forums. But that is a small price to pay to put an end to another reprehensible tactic in the Islamo-terrorists' quest for world dominance.
Sunday, January 13, 2008

New York Times Report Proves Military Service Enhances Emotional Stability

A report in the New York Times today states that after six years of non-stop combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, only 121 military veterans could be found who after their return home had been involved in deadly encounters in which someone blames their service as the root cause.

The Times interprets this research as proof positive that the military is a bad place, the war is wreaking untold havoc on our country, and they don't say it, but obviously we should quit now and run home as fast as possible.

There already is an eruption of discussion on the Times' conclusions and methodology, but I am taking a different approach.

Let's say that every single one of the incidents reviewed by the Times is as the report claims - including its lead-off vignette about an Iraq vet who was shot at by two gang-bangers back home, and shot them in response. The report claims that the 20-year-old vet involved in this incident was set off by a trip through gang-dominated turf to a liquor store where he illegally (under age!) bought two cans of beer so he could sleep, since he is tormented by memories of his unit killing a civilian - naturally.

It doesn't give us any more than that to go on, but hey, we don't need any more than that. This is the New York Times, we can trust that outlet every bit as much as a previous generation could trust, oh, I don't know, Walter Cronkite? Oh, right. He lied. Never mind.

The report also includes as part of its totals, motor vehicle accidents in which a service person was involved in an alcohol-related death.

Taking all that the Times considers to be service-connected violence, and its conclusion that 121 deaths in America can be traced to combat in the War on Terror, we must also consider that there currently are more than 150,000 American servicemen and women in Iraq (rounded down so the math is easy), and another contingent of about 14,000 in Afghanistan.

That is just today. Right now. This minute. Then for truly meaningful statistical analysis we must add the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the millions of active duty service personnel and veterans who have served worldwide since 9-11. When you are done you will find that we are talking about such a small number of vets, over such a wide stretch of time, in so many different situations, that to claim the research provides any meaningful conclusions is intellectually dishonest.

The Pentagon won't comment to any great extent on the Times' article but it clearly considers both the conclusions and the "statistics" skewed.

The Times reported in part: The Pentagon was given The Times's roster of homicides. It declined to comment because, a spokesman, Lt. Col. Les Melnyk, said, the Department of Defense could not duplicate the newspaper's research. Further, Colonel Melnyk questioned the validity of comparing prewar and wartime numbers based on news media reports, saying that the current increase might be explained by "an increase in awareness of military service by reporters since 9/11." He also questioned the value of "lumping together different crimes such as involuntary manslaughter with first-degree homicide."

Given that many veterans rebound successfully from their war experiences and some flourish as a result of them, veterans groups have long deplored the attention paid to the minority of soldiers who fail to readjust to civilian life.


An article in the Veterans of Foreign Wars magazine in 2006 referred with disdain to the pervasive "wacko-vet myth," which, veterans say, makes it difficult for them to find jobs.

Clearly, committing homicide is an extreme manifestation of dysfunction for returning veterans, many of whom struggle in quieter ways, with crumbling marriages, mounting debt, deepening alcohol dependence or more-minor tangles with the law.

But these killings provide a kind of echo sounding for the profound depths to which some veterans have fallen, whether at the bottom of a downward spiral or in a sudden burst of violence.

Clearly the Times' editors have decided not to look around their own newsrooms five minutes before deadline to see evidence of "downward spiral," or how many times reporters have exhibited "a sudden burst of violence" by flipping out when someone changed their lead paragraph without consultation. And I'd love to see the divorce statistics for journalists.

Way down in the article there is a bit of a disclaimer: In some of the cases involving veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, the fact that the suspect went to war bears no apparent relationship to the crime committed or to the prosecution and punishment.

That is neatly offset and in fact, discarded, in the very next sentence that states, But in many of the cases, the deployment of the service member invariably becomes a factor of some sort as the legal system, families and communities grapple to make sense of the crimes.

Of course, that never happens in the civilian world. Families and communities grappling to make sense of senseless crimes that is.

Of the cases listed by the Times, my favorite involves a Marine, of course, who apparently spent his time in a rear area, the morgue I guess, who then came home and, well, here, read it yourself:

When Archie O'Neil, a gunnery sergeant in the Marines, returned from a job handling dead bodies in Iraq, he became increasingly paranoid, jumpy and fearful - moving into his garage, eating M.R.E.'s, wearing his camouflage uniform, drinking heavily and carrying a gun at all times, even to answer the doorbell.

"It was like I put one person on a ship and sent him over there, and they sent me a totally different person back," Monique O'Neil, his wife, testified.

A well-respected and decorated noncommissioned officer who did not want to endanger his chances for advancement, Sergeant O'Neil did not seek help for the PTSD that would later be diagnosed by government psychologists. "The Marine way," his lawyer said at a preliminary hearing, "was to suck it up."

On the eve of his second deployment to Iraq in 2004, Sergeant O'Neil fatally shot his mistress, Kimberly O'Neal, after she threatened to kill his family while he was gone.

Label me as horribly misinformed and really not up on the latest psychological mumbo jumbo, but first, how did he get a mistress if he had been in Iraq, and then came home to hide out in his garage? Frankly, if this man's case really hinges on working at the morgue, and has nothing to do with an extramarital affair with a woman who threatened to kill his family, then we as Americans damn well better start looking out for Morticians Gone Wild.

And funeral home directors! Jeez, those guys could snap any second now! And make-up artists who prepare the bodies for viewing. And ambulance drivers. And emergency room doctors and nurses. Good God we're on the verge of societal meltdown! Run for your lives!

OK, I've been a wise ass. Again. Most if not all of these cases are tragic, and I am not making fun of anyone involved in any of them, perpetrator or victim.

But you get my drift don't you? To manufacture this 'story,' the New York Times has used a minuscule number of people who have been exposed to war and later were involved in tragedies that may or may not have had anything whatsoever to do with their war experiences. From that they have extrapolated by implication another attack on the military and by extension the Bush Administration, which as any liberal knows, got us into this war illegally.

The links in this story to liberal causes are clear.

Decades of studies on the problems of Vietnam veterans have established links between combat trauma and higher rates of unemployment, homelessness, gun ownership, child abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse - and criminality. On a less scientific level, such links have long been known.

Oh, and let's not forget a bit of creative history rewriting: In earlier eras, various labels attached to the psychological injuries of war: soldier's heart, shell shock, Vietnam disorder.

Gun ownership is a result of combat trauma? And Vietnam disorder? What the hell is Vietnam disorder? Is that something like Montezuma's Revenge? This article should be required reading for the Iraq Veterans Against the War before they do their planned John Kerry Winter Soldier Investigation imitation in April. Actually, it probably is, and I wouldn't be surprised if it is used as "evidence" by this generation's posers, embellishers and liars who think of Kerry as an idol.

Yeah, and while we're at it, let's not forget those poor, poor terrorists, who now have to blow up their innocent victims in ever smaller numbers because our big bad military is chasing them into less and less populated sections of Iraq and Afghanistan. The Times should get them a good lawyer pro bono so they can sue Bush and the Pentagon!

If there are criminals at work here it is the reporters and editors at the Times who savagely reworked the true meaning of their research into this piece of trash story. The true result as shown by their own numbers is that the American military is more than 99.999 percent successful in training our military not only to complete the missions but to readjust afterwards.

How's that for a headline?

Suppose just for the sake of argument, we grab one of those national pollsters now covering the political primaries to death, and ask them to judge the validity of this 'research.' Let's get Real Clear Politics, or Rasmussen! Yeah, Rasmussen, he's the go-to guy.

I bet I already know what the pollsters would say. They'd conclude that 121 people out of hundreds of thousands are statistically insignificant, if not inconsequential. Do you realize that this number, over the course of six years or more, does not equate to the murder rate in Philly or Detroit in one six-month period? They'd throw that research right out and tell whoever did it to get a real job!

Personally, I think the legislators that said a kid can go to war, and then have to return to a battlefield city - similar to a "Sanctuary City" without the spin - and can't even buy a beer legally, should be brought up on charges of irredeemable stupidity.

Then they should have to fetch that young man's beer, on foot, through the entitlement-mentality cityscape they have created, without an AK-47 or any other weapon! Let's see if they can handle that little assignment before we start bashing this generation of military and veterans shall we?
Thursday, January 10, 2008

Kerry Endorses Obama! Say "Goodbye Presidency!"

Nearly as quickly as the news broke that self-proclaimed war hero and failed presidential aspirant John Kerry was endorsing Democrat Barack Obama for president, my phone rang and a veteran friend was on the other end laughing uncontrollably.

"Did you hear? Nail the coffin shut on Obama! Hillary must be dancing in the streets!"

My sentiments exactly.

Not only was it a horrible political blunder overall, by attaching all the baggage that Kerry carried into the 2004 election to his own, but Obama announced Kerry's endorsement as he campaigned in South Carolina - a state that has a huge veteran population! Didn't anyone in Obama's camp pick up on the vets turning their back on Kerry at the VFW convention in 2004?

Didn't anyone remember Kerry's despicable statement before a college audience when he equated a lack of education with a one-way ticket to the military and Iraq? Didn't anyone in Obama's circle of advisers pay attention to the eruption of disdain for Kerry, even from Democrats?

Well, start paying attention now, because your bread has been buttered, your bed is made, and all you can do is try to spin it.

Simply put, next to Hanoi-Jane Fonda, John Kerry is the single most reviled icon of the Vietnam anti-war generation. He fabricated his own war record, he lied about American troops, he sided with and met with the communists we were fighting and he is complicit in the deaths of millions of Southeast Asians who were slaughtered when the US Congress stood idly by and allowed the communists to take over South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

To accept an endorsement from Kerry is political suicide. To do it in a state with both a large active duty military and veteran population is to spit in the face of everyone who is serving or has served.

It is one thing to say you oppose the war in Iraq. It is entirely another to side with an America-hating, pseudo-elitist collaborator.

It is true that Hillary Clinton has a reputation for also showing complete disdain for the military. But in this case, since Kerry obviously has spit in her face too, she can make hay out of this if so inclined.

We could argue and speculate forever on whether Kerry's endorsement is a set up, orchestrated by the Clinton camp to undermine Obama's campaign. Could be, who knows? What we do know is that Obama publicly accepted Kerry's endorsement at a rally in South Carolina, where the spin machine is going to have to work non-stop to find a way to put a good face on this debacle.

Meanwhile there couldn't possibly be a better time for the Republican field to display its pro-military position. Not every candidate has served, but it is not necessary to have served in the military to be elected president. It is necessary to support the military and our nation's veterans, as well as to truly understand the vicious nature of the enemy we are fighting.

The Democrats have separated themselves from the military community and national defense with such fervor that I doubt it is possible to undo the damage they have inflicted on their own party over the past five years.

Democrats have disparaged our troops - remember Murtha and the Haditha Marines - have tried to stop funding the armed forces, have called for retreat and surrender in a war we are winning - remember Vietnam - and called the commander of the incredibly successful offensive dubbed The Surge, a traitor.

If I was a Republican presidential candidate and I had a veteran-related issue on my agenda I would use this focus on the military to bring it out for discussion. America keeps winning the wars while manipulators and collaborators like Kerry work to weaken our country and disparage those who served.

There couldn't be a better time to show the difference between the two positions and elaborate on support for the vets.

And don't give me that Swift Boat crapola either. Texas businessman T. Boone Pickens offered last year to give Kerry's favorite charity $1 million if Kerry could prove that the Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth lied about him at any time in the 2004 campaign. Kerry claimed he would do so, in a response he immediately made available to the media, but the deadline quietly slipped by with no evidence of alleged Swift Boat "lies" forthcoming.

The media missed that little milestone, but the veteran community didn't.

The Swift Boat vets were right in their statements and their positions. In the period following his defeat in the 2004 presidential race, Kerry has shown that they were right in deciding to expose his real intents and beliefs.

Some news outlets were using the term "major endorsement" early Wednesday to describe Kerry's support for Obama.

Major may be accurate, but it should be followed by "blunder."
Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A Woman's Tears Trump the Color of a Man's Skin. Deal With It!

In the days preceding the New Hampshire primary Democratic candidate and former First Person Hillary Clinton was at wits end, trying to figure how to deflect the tsunami of support that was swinging into Barack Obama's camp.

Nothing she said or did seemed to work. Well, that is what the media kept telling us.

We saw Barack at huge rallies where an enthusiastic corps of newly converted supporters chanted and whistled and waved placards proclaiming "Change," while in the Hillary camp there were dwindling crowds, and misstatements by her supporters, especially her husband.

It was dark days for the Hillary campaign. What to do? What to do?

Hillary had a million tricks in her handbag, but she couldn't use them on Barack the way she could on the other guys running against her. Why?

Well, it's obvious. Barack is black! And in Democratic politics, even though they preach equality, you can't criticize a black guy the way you can criticize a white guy.

Especially a "clean, articulate" black guy, as Democrat Joe Biden referred to him. She couldn't bring up his drug use, she couldn't bring up any of the Internet scuttlebutt about his religion. She had to walk on eggshells while he was lobbing bombshells.

Like any other Democrat, Hillary was the victim of her party's excesses. Democrats like their minorities poor, unemployed, uneducated, downtrodden and victimized so they can keep saying they (Democratic politicians) are fighting for them (minorities.)

As long as minorities stay poor, unemployed and uneducated, the Dems can enact program after program, that have to be staffed by thousands of patronage jobs to manage the resultant bureaucracy that exists in reality only to perpetuate itself.

Evidence of this abounds in the Democratic treatment of successful black Americans like Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell who have been subjected to a real tsunami of negativity from the left wing for not living down to the approved black image.

But here comes Barack Obama who like Rice and Powell, breaks the approved Democratic model, but unlike Rice and Powell, Barack is a Democrat! Whoa, talk about throwing a monkey wrench into the works!

But way too many people had counted Hillary out. She may have been down. She may have been muttering to herself and screaming at her staff. But she was not out.

"Blast that Obama. How can I get him? He tricks us. He steals from us. He wants our PRECIOUS!

They are all against me. Bill is making a fool of me, Rush Limbaugh is posting pictures of the way I look when I get up in the morning all over the Internet. I'd like to see what HE looks like before he has a coffee and the makeup girls get to him. You can bet your ass he wouldn't be running for office!

Why, oh Why, oh 'Why's everybody always picking on me?'"

And in her rage and frustration, Hillary felt a tear trickle down her wrinkled cheek, and like the proverbial light bulb going on over her head, she had an epiphany!

"I am woman, watch me cry."

And in her very next media appearance, the one after she had consumed her morning coffee and the makeup girls had fussed over her aging visage for more than an hour, she recounted the abuses the media and other candidates had been heaping upon her withered brow.

"It's not easy. It's not easy," she lamented. And again, the tear appeared, and Barack Obama was screwed.

So, now what does Barack do? Well, brother, not much.

You should have known this all along since you are married. But you sure know it now. You can NOT fight against a crying woman without looking like the coldest nastiest guy on the planet.

I mean, you can be a real tough guy like Bruce Willis in Die Hard, or Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter. But remember, those guys were out to shoot people, not run for office.

No, Barack, you are now in a married guy's NO MAN'S LAND. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Women. Can't live with them, can't shoot them.

I have little in the way of good information her. I am after all a Republican and my advice usually goes in that direction. I don't agree with Barack Obama on a host of issues, but still, we are guys, and we guys need to stick together in the larger battle of the sexes.

When my wife gets into one of those moods I head right up to the local Legion post, quaff a root beer or two and watch salt water fishing shows on cable TV until things calm down on the home front.

Obviously a political candidate can't do that. But, Barack, you are not without recourse.

I think the best place for advice on this issue is straight from the horse's mouth. No, not Hillary!

Your wife! If you want to fight fire with fire, ask your wife what tactics to use that won't alienate the voters!

You can't use PMS. Hillary is too old for that, but you can't bring up menopause either without losing that segment of the population. No, if there is anyone out there who can figure out how to counter a woman's tears, it is another woman, not a guy.

By the way, Barack, if you figure this out, let the rest of us in on it will you?

Of course, regardless of what method works here, we still have to figure out day by day who we are dealing with. By that I mean is it I am Hillary, hear me roar? Or will today's candidate be I am Hillary, I need a hug?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Tearful Hillary Dodges Bullet; Hopeful Barack Dodges James Carville, USMC

One of the basic tenets of being a US Marine is that regardless of what job you do out in the Fleet Marine Force, you first train as a rifleman.

Every Marine, man and woman, learns to shoot, and learns basic infantry tactics.

In the world of politics there are many things said about Democratic strategist and attack dog James Carville. Some call him the Ragin' Cajun, others the Mouth from the South.

They do this because Carville is tough, opinionated, fearless, relentless, and above all, successful. He has brought candidates back from as far as 40 points out.

But what people rarely say when they talk about James Carville is that he spent two years in the US Marines. Not a long hitch as time in goes, but enough to go through boot camp, learn infantry skills and spend a respectable period in Marine world.

At midday Tuesday the word suddenly spread among political commentators that Carville was coming to help Hillary Clinton. Carville also was said to be denying this, although Clinton's campaign manger certainly left that door wide open when he was interviewed by Chris Wallace on Fox News late Tuesday afternoon.

But later Tuesday, when it was apparent that Hillary Clinton was not going to be trounced by Obama, as virtually every pollster had said, Carville's denial was stronger and more emphatic. If he is not going to help the Clinton campaign, Barack Obama will live (politically speaking) to fight another day.

Because if Carville remembers his basic infantry skills, and a review of his history as a strategist indicates he does, he knows something that most other strategists can only hint at – how to plan and lay out an ambush, but most importantly, when to spring it.

Any reasonably intelligent human can be taught the basics of preparing an ambush. But the real skill is knowing how and when to wreak havoc on the opposing force.

Spring the ambush too soon and it is turned back on the ambushers. Spring it too late, and all you get is a few tail-end Charlies while the main force regroups and comes back after you.

Knowing when to spring the ambush, what weapons to employ, and which version of ambush to use is as much an art as a skill, and in the world of Democratic politics the only adviser out there with the knowledge to put it all together is Carville. Woe be to the campaign that ignores this capability or discounts it.

Hillary Clinton is fighting for her political life and in many ways in her campaign is disoriented, otherwise she wouldn't be bringing in new people, and she sure wouldn't be seeking help from Carville.

But Carville bowed out of domestic politics years ago, stating that he had become too much of a distraction and thus would work in the international arena. A glance at his website shows that he is is as well known internationally as domestically.

Hillary Clinton is, at the moment, in the political race of her life. It pushed her to the brink of tears on Monday, real or imagined, depending on which version you believe. She either had an emotional moment or a contrived and planned tearfest that immediately was used to show her "softer side."

But she successfully diverted attention to her femininity instead of to a perceived weakness. She was fortunate, or skilled, since even the hint that he was on the verge of tears was the death knell for Edmund Muskie in New Hampshire a generation ago.

I guess it's OK for a woman to cry on the way to the presidency of the United States, but not a man. Frankly, I think Vladimir Putin is licking his chops and hoping she wins. That guy will eat Obama for breakfast and Clinton for lunch.

On the homefront, this certainly has been a dramatic two weeks in political circles with both the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary defying the polls, but now it is time to get down and dirty. There are primaries in South Carolina and Michigan and Nevada and then there is Super Tuesday, February 5, when the American political terrain will erupt.

For all the talk about the importance of New Hampshire and Iowa, they still don't provide many delegates in the overall scheme of things, which is what matters when convention day arrives.

Early Tuesday virtually every pundit and commentator was writing Hillary Clinton's campaign off as done and gone. But then the word came out about Carville, even as he reportedly denied it.

As the polls closed and the votes started coming in Tuesday night Clinton was not being lambasted by Obama as predicted. By the end of the night, Hillary had pulled it out and Barack was giving a concession speech.

Maybe the pundits and pollsters were wrong all along, or maybe just the hint of Carville entering the fray was enough to sway some last minute undecided voters.

Whatever the truth, there is only one sure bet about Super Tuesday. Hillary Clinton will definitely be factor, and she can allow herself a sigh of relief.

Barack Obama may have lost but he still is formidable. And if Carville is not going to join the other side, Barack can also breathe a sigh of relief that he will go on to fight another day without learning the real meaning of fear.
Monday, January 07, 2008

Thompson Defines "Change" on ABC, FOX; RNC, DNC Must Define "Debate"

In the multi-party quest among presidential candidates for a word or phrase that will mean nothing, imply everything, and be forgotten once the ballots are counted, the word "Change" has emerged as the defining term.

The beauty of the word "Change" is that it has so many meanings, it is fluid, it is hard to pin down, it can be everything or it can be nothing. A candidate can get elected on the promise of "change" and fulfill that promise by simply employing a fashion maven and altering wardrobe selections.

But after watching the ABC debates on Saturday night, and the Fox News forum on Sunday night, it is obvious that the only candidate who will really provide change is Fred Thompson! How so, you might find yourself asking yourself?

Simple, after being declared the hands down winner of the Saturday debate by ABC commentator George Stephanopoulos, an astute observation, I also watched the GOP candidates' performance closely on Sunday. After only 10 minutes or so a pattern emerged.

Fox moderator Chris Wallace spent inordinate amounts of time monitoring a verbal menage a trois starring Mitt Romney and John McCain, with Mike Huckabee jumping in from time to time. In terms of time on camera, Rudy Giuliani was allowed a distant fourth, followed by Thompson, who was jumped over by Wallace on several occasions.

Yet, when he did have an opportunity to speak, Thompson was direct, open, honest and on the money.

When the issue of immigration and amnesty for illegal aliens arose, the rest of the panel tried all manner of contortions to redefine 'amnesty' and who was for it or against it.

But Fred Thompson jumped right to the heart of the issue - social and economic conditions in Mexico that are generating so many immigrants in the first place. Thompson chastised the president of Mexico for bad-mouthing the United States on our desire to police OUR border. Thompson also said that while both countries benefit from trade, Mexico needs to clean up its own act - which in my opinion includes astronomical unemployment, wanton pollution, criminals in and out of government, corruption and drug smuggling to name but a few issues.

This response was classical Thompson, right to the heart of the issue without all the window dressing and posturing.

Compare Thompson's response in immigration to the biggest issue of the night between the other candidates:

"Governors are smarter than Senators."

"No they aren't!"

"Yes there are!"

"Senators are smarter than Governors!"

"No they aren't!"

"Yes, they are!"

Scintillating debate I'll tell you.

At first I thought Thompson was being deliberately shortchanged by Fox, what with Wallace ignoring him in favor of the other candidates, but then a patten emerged: Giuliani, Huckabee, Romney and McCain squabbling over inconsequential nonsense, while Thompson quietly waited his turn, then KAPOW! Thompson drove straight to the heart, showed he had complete command of the issues and the ideas on how to deal with them.

How does Thompson represent the candidate of real, positive change? Simple, he isn't bombastic, he really cares about the future of America, he will do what he says he will do, he doesn't bury the voters in an avalanche of verbosity, he has ideas that will work.

That is not only a change from the onslaught we have seen from the rest of the candidates for both parties, it is a refreshing change, and one that can work.

After watching all the candidates except Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul who were banned from the weekend's festivities, I have concluded that for many candidates in both parties, "change" means "If can can't blind them with your brilliance, bury them with your b.s."

One other matter involving change should also be addressed here, and that concerns this endless series of "debates" that aren't debates, and "forums" that are really soapboxes for the networks and a few Internet sites.

On ABC's debate Saturday, when I wasn't absolutely absorbed by whether the moderators granny glasses were going to fall off the tip of his nose during a question, I noted that most of the debating was done by the questioners. One guy who accompanied "granny glasses guy," asked a question of Thompson that was so long, and so involved that I forgot what the point was before he finished his inquiry.

Thompson, to his credit, answered with a "No," but that wasn't enough for the interrogator, who kept butting in with his slant on the issue. If I remember correctly, in a debate, a moderator poses an issue, and one side argues one point, which the other side responds.

The guy asking the question is not there to participate.

On Sunday Fox could have easily left itself wide open to charges of favoritism and attempting to manipulate the voters by giving so little exposure to Thompson and Giuliani, and so much to Romney, Huckabee and McCain. Thompson saved Fox's hide by using the situation so well to his advantage and to show so convincingly how he really does represent a change from the others.

It is obvious that these interminable appearances are not debates and I bet that most voters didn't waste much time on them. But they do have an impact and I don't think that making things difficult for both parties amounts to being fair to either party or the voters.

Thus I think the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee should put aside their differences for a few weeks and hammer out a viable, approved, endorsed debate schedule and format that must be adhered to by candidates representing both parties.

I suggest a total of three debates between candidates competing for their party's nomination before the first primary - in other words three for Democrats debating Democrats and three with Republicans debating Republicans.

After the primaries and conventions are over and each party has a candidate, we could have three more between the presidential candidates. All debates should be open to all news outlets to broadcast, but the RNC and DNC should call the shots on when, where, and the format.

This has not been a season of knowledge for people who really want to get an idea of where the candidates stand. This has been a zoo, or circus, what with people dressing up in Halloween costumes and filming themselves asking questions, or campaign workers posing as "independent" questioners and focus group participants.

We can all have our laughs at the political process, but the truth is, we are in a very serious phase of human existence, both for our country and the world, and we shouldn't allow a few malcontents to make a mockery of our country or our process.

That includes moderators who think that granny glasses perched on the tip of their nose all night is a serious fashion accoutrement. For these Carl Levin wannabes, please take the following in the spirit it was intended: Michigan's Democratic senator doesn't know beans about fashion and when he wears those half glasses on the tip of his nose he looks like a three-dimensional version of a Thackeray caricature.

He doesn't look intellectual, cool, hip, or even smart. He looks ridiculous, and if he had someone giving him a good once over before he left the house in the morning he'd never appear in public that way. Mimicking Levin's fashion sense says just about everything we need to hear about the mental acuity of his followers.

If you want cool looking glasses, check out the pair that Paul Newman wore toward the end of his movie The Color of Money. Seriously, it was a good movie and it was a good look, at least for Newman.

Think of it, commentators and moderators who take their jobs seriously enough to put the news first, dress for the job, and give an ounce of concern to their listeners and viewers. Now that would be a really nice change.
Friday, January 04, 2008

Iowa Polling Trends Show: Polls Are Out, Voters Are In

In the final days before the Iowa Caucus, the results of which either mean everything or nothing depending on which candidate you like, or commentator you follow, the wisdom from the media was that voters were pulling back from GOP leader Mike Huckabee and returning to the Mitt Romney camp.

On the Democratic side the race supposedly was too close to call. Uh-huh.

In addition, John McCain was surging while Fred Thompson, who was within a percentage point of McCain was struggling. Again, Uh-huh. In fact, one newscaster portrayed Thompson as bringing up the rear, way, way back with Ron Paul, a Libertarian running as a Republican using Democratic talking points.

Well, as the results now show, Democrats were backing Obama in a big way, while on the Republican side Huckabee's lead was intact all the way. Mitt Romney may or may not have to fall on his sword now, and the struggling Fred Thompson bested John McCain, reversing their positions in the percentage game, which the media now claims puts them in a tie!

What does this tell us?

Neither the media nor the polls can be trusted. But that isn't news is it?

We have known this for a long, long time and across the board the media showed Thursday that it has its favorites and will do almost anything to ensure that they get the nod.

Didn't work though did it?

Probably the most grievous example of media bias came from Fox News and its apparent dislike of Thompson.

I spent a 20-year career in the media as reporter, copy editor, layout editor, news editor, business editor, supervising editor and columnist. One of the most basic tenets of journalism 101 that was hammered into my brain from the very first day, was that you never, ever print a rumor.

Rumors are just that, rumors, not news. If someone drops a hint to a reporter it is a rumor until the reporter confirms the FACT behind the rumor with a minimum of two reliable sources. Note that I said confirm the fact behind the rumor, not that someone else heard the rumor too.

Then, and only then, you go to the subject of the rumor and ask for a response to use in a news story. If you approach the subject with a rumor and ask for a comment and they say it is untrue, you are stuck without a story unless you can confirm the rumor.

But only hours before Iowans went out to caucus, Fox News aired a rumor that Fred Thompson's campaign would fold if he placed fourth, and that he was releasing his delegates to the McCain camp. Thompson himself squelched this rumor, which should have been the end of it, and it never should have gone on the air, but it did.

The rumor was repeated at the 6 p.m. newscast, and this time Thompson's spokeswoman Mary Matalin, who is probably the most competent, experienced GOP strategist and media person out there, appeared on Fox to again deny that there was any substance to this claim whatsoever.

So why did Fox run it?

Most media I deal with during political campaigns have a two-day cutoff for running any new or controversial issues, simply because it isn't fair to the candidates, can give false impressions with no time to counter them, and can affect close races. This is called journalistic ethics.

But running with a rumor that turned out to have no basis in fact only hours before people go out to vote is nothing less that journalistic sabotage.

I am very happy that Fred Thompson is surging because I like his message and his stand on the issues. I am equally happy that Mike Huckabee had a good night in Iowa because of his stand on the Fair Tax, and that John McCain is still in the running, since he has supported other national candidates for whom I have worked in the past, and he is a fellow Vietnam Veteran.

I don't think Mitt Romney's second place finish last night puts him out of the race at all, and lest anyone forget, Rudy Giuliani is no pushover and he is sitting down in Florida ready to do battle with the entire field in a state with a huge delegate count.

Aside from the GOP and Democratic candidates who dropped out after a poor showing in Iowa, the only candidate I am giving no chance to is Ron Paul. He not only finished fifth, but he did it in a state where any registered voter can vote in the caucus of either party.

When Paul runs in a state where only Republicans can vote in Republican primaries I don't expect to see much from him. Ron Paul says he raised a ton of money from the Internet but that was not reflected in Iowa's voting, the one place where he could have made a huge impact if money really translates to votes.

But whatever my personal feelings on the candidates, the one thing I really dislike is an obvious attempt by any media outlet to manipulate the vote or the voters.

To fully understand how upset I was with Fox News last night, consider this ... as a Vietnam veteran, there is no media outlet that has less credibility to me than CNN. Yet I switched over to CNN for results, since Fox couldn't seem to get over the fact that Thompson was running ahead of McCain for most of the evening and ended up a few hundred votes ahead.

At least I got to see Bill Bennett opine on CNN that Barack Obama should watch his back and his kneecaps after putting a beat down on Hillary Clinton. I'm paraphrasing this but essentially Bennett said the Clinton's play hardball and Obama should tread very carefully from here out.

I have said in this column many times that Fox is the network I watch for news and opinion. Brit Hume's Special Report is a fixture for me, as is Chris Wallace's Fox News Sunday. I value the opinions of Fred Barnes, Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, Juan Williams, Mara Liasson, Nina Easton, Hume and Mort Kondracke to name just a few - even when I don't agree with them.

I have said previously that I consider Brit Hume to be the Walter Cronkite of this generation, except that he is honest where Cronkite - Uncle Walter and The Most Trusted Man in America - was unethical.

But what I saw on Fox yesterday taints the news department and similarly taints every single commentator who appears on Fox political shows. If there is a problem between Fox News and the Thompson campaign, then the ethical thing to do is come out with it and let Fox viewers know what is going on.

Nina Easton makes a point every time she appears that her husband is working on the Romney campaign, so why is the news department not following her lead?

America's voters will decide who is to be the next president, and the great thing is that we still have so many candidates from whom to choose. I believe people are taking a good hard look at the candidates, and yes, they are seeking change, although I don't believe it is the change Obama, Clinton and Edwards are talking about.

There is a place for editorializing, and that is where opinions should stay. What we need from the media is straight reporting.

The polls are only a general view of what is going on in the world around us, and all too often reflect the views of only a very small segment of the population that is preselected to deliver a preselected viewpoint. If you talk about the polls out in the general population, the one thing you hear most often is, "I've had a telephone my entire life and I have never been called by a pollster."

So the public is onto the polls, as was shown last night in Iowa. The public is onto the news media too, even those outlets that claim to be presenting a balanced view of the news.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Is Fox News Impotent? Teen Home Schoolers Don't Need E.D. Drugs!

In the course of raising my children, the older of whom - to use Marine aviation terminology - are airborne, while the youngest is still on the taxiway, we have encountered the spectrum of educational experiences from public school to private school to home schooling.

My youngest child, who recently entered the wild and wonderful world of her teen years, is home schooled, which began in Florida and has continued off and on since. She also spent several years in the public school system.

My home schooler takes algebra, Latin, geography, history, civics and government, current events, religion and philosophy, health, grammar, spelling, composition, art, literature, and science. We have a time set aside each day for physical education, and on the outside she plays piano, sings and rides horses.

My wife and I split the teaching duties which are spread out across the day, including weekends, and are not confined to classroom experiences. For instance, a trip to the store also is an exercise in mathematics, calculating weights and measures, as well as costs and taxes. We also delve into chemistry there, reviewing the various additives found in packaged food and researching their affects on the human body.

We try to keep a regular schedule as much as possible, and as part of the daily routine, every week day at 6 p.m., my world goes on hold for one hour and I sit down to watch Brit Hume's Special Report on Fox News.

I like a lot of the Fox newscasters and commentators, including Neil Cavuto's business hour, John Gibson's My Word, that airs just before Hume, E.D. Hill who needs no further explanation, and Chris Wallace's Fox News Sunday. I start my day with Fox and Friends.(I am still ticked off, however, that I can't watch Juliet Huddy in my area.)

I watch the others as my schedule permits, but the 6 p.m. show is such a mainstay in my home that if I am caught up in work, my wife will remind me of the time, and if at all possible I will stop what I am doing. Brit Hume brings us a wide range of national and international stories, his wry look at the oddities of the news in the Grapevine at 6:30 (eastern time) is always fun as well as informative, and I value the opinions of the panel of commentators in the second part of the show, even if I disagree with them.

I also have found that the 6 p.m. news hour provides a great opportunity to spend some quality time with my daughter, as we absorb the news of the day and discuss its ramifications to our lives.

There is, however, a fly in the ointment, that being the incessant commercials that air at this hour for erectile dysfunction - the inability of some males to get an erection. I am not mocking this issue here, I realize that for those who are afflicted it also can be a harbinger of far more serious conditions including circulation and heart problems.

I do not think Brit Hume has any input on the commercials that air during this hour, or even is aware of what is running, since studio personnel usually use the ad breaks to prepare for the next segment and are more tuned to the producers than the video monitor. Apparently, however, the demographic that the Fox ad people are targeting in the evening hours includes males who may be experiencing erectile dysfunction, so the show is heavily loaded with ads for drugs that address that problem.

Now, in the course of home schooling our daughter, my wife and I deal with sex education openly and regularly. As a child's body changes, and as their social lives become more complicated, the issues change and they need regular adult input and monitoring.

I firmly believe in parents taking the lead in this area. I have been involved in teaching human sexuality to my children ever since my son came home from public school some years ago and dropped the bomb that he had been taught about sex that day - and the instructor used baseball bats and catchers mitts to explain male and female physiology!

We also use this time to teach our values and the reasons for them.

But a teen-aged girl who is watching television as part of her current events and civics lessons doesn't need a constant bombardment of ads about a bunch of guys who are having a hard time - no pun intended - raising the drawbridge on demand. In fact the models in the ads look like the pictures of health, not guys whose circulation or cholesterol issues could be blocking the blood flow to the affected areas of their anatomy.

And the females in these ads look like they could raise the dead, to say nothing of ... well you get the drift.

There are enough things for parents of a teenager to discuss in this area without going into matters that are so far removed from daily life for most people that they just don't appear on the radar. I have to believe that people afflicted with erectile dysfunction can get more and better information from their doctors.

I am well aware that there are many issues regarding human sexuality in this world that can't and shouldn't be avoided. For instance, I also have found Rush Limbaugh to be an excellent teacher of American civics and government and we often listen to his radio show during our physical education time.

But Rush also is topical and if the topic of the day involves sexual issues in Congress or the White House, he is going to discuss it, as he should.

A few years ago I sent Rush an email during a show that was heavy on some sexual issues from the Clinton years, noting that I was listening to him with my young daughter. Immediately afterward he started giving his listeners a heads up if there was an 'adult' issue coming up.

I have no idea whether that was the result of my email or if I was just one of thousands with the same concerns, but he did respond and it is very helpful and very much appreciated. It only takes a second to say "let's take a break."

I reserve the right to teach my children about these issues my way, and all I am asking from the wider world of communicators is that they understand the nature of their audience and give us a chance to deal with adult subjects as we see fit.

So the question I have is, does Fox News have to run an avalanche of erectile dysfunction ads during the 6 p.m. news hour? Can't these ads be run at a later time, say during O'Reilly, or Hannity and Colmes?

Is there a way to warn parents when these issues are next on the ad agenda? Hell, man, I have enough to deal with just teaching my daughter about horny teen-aged boys, and it just isn't relevant to get bogged down in adult sexuality issues! If this was just the occasional ad I wouldn't be writing this column, but the fact is, these ads dominate the Special Report advertising and I flat our don't want to look at them anymore.

I'd hate for Special Report to lose a viewer, not because of anything Brit Hume did or said, but because of the advertisements that Fox's ad department chooses to run in that hour. It wouldn't be just one viewer, if that occurs, it would be two, because whatever I decide to do about this, the opportunity to have this special time with my family takes precedence over my choice of news outlets.

Rush Limbaugh found a simple, effective and very welcome solution to this issue. I believe Fox can too.

Oh, one last issue.

If I ever have an erection that lasts more than four hours, the last thing I will do is call a doctor as advised in the ads.

No Sir! If I ever, ever have an erection that lasts more than four hours, I'm going to hang a neon sign on that bad boy, call a press conference and start making money the old fashioned way!

Do you think they'd cover that on Special Report?


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