RUDY GIULIANI USED TO BE NUMBER ONE, BUT THEN HE DROPPED THE COMB OVER
It has been a rather remarkable year. So, now, as I get ready to embark on my Winter Solstice journey across the pond, I would like to share some of my year end thoughts with you. These are in no particular order, but, hey, it’s my (in part) blog, and I can do whatever I want.
Illinois’ Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been the center of just a bit of controversy for what has been alleged to be his attempt to sell President Elect Obama’s now vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. Now, I am not excusing what the wire taps show Blagojevich did, but, ya know, he comes from Chicago.
Between the late 80s and early 90s, I spent a great deal of time in The Second City, and, believe me, what Blagojevich did is business as usual there. What set Barack Obama apart from the scuzz balls that make up politics as usual in The Windy City is that he didn’t buy into that crap. He stood head and shoulders above it all and wouldn’t play along when Blagojevich tried to solicit a bribe from the incoming President. But this is the city of the Daleys and Harold Washington. This is the state where Governors routinely go to prison while still in office. This is Illinois. Why should we be surprised? Remember, a whole bunch of dead folks in Chi Town did vote for JFK in 1963.
And, by the way, is it really necessary for the Governor to have a staff member charged with the responsibility of always having the proper model Paul Mitchell hair brush handy? Really, what could Blagojevich possibly have been thinking when he appointed someone to handle that job? After all, he may just have the second worst hair do in politics, only trailing John McCain. Rudy Giuliani used to be number one, but then he dropped the comb over.
And speaking of open Senate seats and the Kennedys, it seems that JFK’s daughter, Caroline has decided that she wants Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s seat as Junior Senator from the State of New York when Senator Clinton becomes Secretary of State. There has been a great deal of rhetoric circulating on both sides of this issue since Ms. Kennedy announced her desire to take over the seat. Much of the negatives circulate on her lack of experience, her unknown positions on most major issues and her abysmal voting record (or, more to the point, her record of not showing up at the polls on election day). All of these are valid. On the positive side, by all indications, she is a brilliant attorney, an accomplished author and heir to a family legacy that includes her father and her uncles, Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Senator Ted Kennedy, among others.
First and foremost, I don’t believe that DNA qualifies anyone for public office unless the government is a monarchy, which ours is not. Second, there are far better choices from which Governor David Patterson can select. Finally, the Governor should show some back bone and not knuckle under to the desire of the incoming administration on this matter. I am certain they (the Obama bunch) want to reward Ms. Kennedy for her unpopular support of Senator Obama in the New York primary against Senator Clinton, but that should not be the issue.
The issues should be two fold.
On the issues directly tied to doing the job as Senator, we need to have a qualified Democrat representing New York, one who can stand the challenge of two upcoming elections, the one in 2010 to fill the remainder of Senator Clinton’s term and the one in 2012 for a full term. Representative Peter King, a popular and highly qualified Republican from Long Island, has already announced his intention to run for the seat in 2010, and I, frankly, don’t think Ms. Kennedy would stand a chance against him. King is anti choice, and pro war and gun. He is the last guy we want to fill that seat.
The second issue should be purely opportunistic for Patterson.
David Patterson became Governor as a result of the resignation of Elliot Spitzer. The Governor must run for election for a full term in 2010. There are two potential primary rivals that could shorten his chances of even getting the Democratic nomination. The first, New York State Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, has similar political DNA to Ms. Kennedy, as the son of former Governor Mario Cuomo and was once married to Caroline Kennedy’s cousin Kerry Kennedy. He is also very qualified, having served both in federal and state government positions, both elected and appointed. The second is Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, who has been the Mayor of the City of Glen Cove and now runs a county that is larger than most cities in our country. Both men want to move up and could be potential rivals to Patterson. To prevent that, Patterson should appoint Cuomo to the Senate seat and Suozzi to replace Cuomo as AG. Deal done. Or he could accept the appointment of Caroline Kennedy as a done deal, and risk all the consequences that carries with it. I think (or at least I hope) he is smarter than that.
Politics makes strange bed fellows, and so the auto bailout that President Bush just authorized seems truly strange, given that the Congressional delegation from his own party was against it. But face it. Bush no longer has to kiss their posteriors. He is about to become an elder statesman. He ain’t ever running for anything ever again. So, for once in his miserable life, George W. Bush has done the right thing. Almost. You see, the one thing that is missing from this whole equation is punishment for the executives that brought their own companies to their collective knees. These guys need to be fired and replaced by management that will work for compensation on a level with that received by Japanese and Korean CEOs. How dare the heads of these companies go to Washington in private jets when they are shutting plants and putting workers on the unemployment line? How dare they receive annual 8 figure salaries when their successful Japanese competitors get less than 5% of those salaries? Any long term deal from the Obama administration and the Congress must throw these guys out and install competent management none of whom should make more than the highest paid worker on the assembly line until the companies are profitable again.
The auto industry is vital to our economy. It is our last manufacturing giant. It cannot be allowed to fail, but its survival must deal with issues that have been avoided for years. Yes, auto workers make decent livings, but they are not the problem. Bloated management being rewarded for bad decisions is the real issue, and that needs to be fixed.
I am disappointed in the conservative nature of the Obama cabinet. I am also disappointed that there are only 6 women out of 24 members of the cabinet. Mr. President Elect, women are 51% of the population. Couldn’t you have done just a little better in that area? Yes, I know that successful leaders govern from the center, but you were elected because the country is fed up with what the Republicans have done for the past 14 years (the time when they first took over Congress). We at The Lib wish you well. Our country needs you to succeed, but we need you to remember who elected you and why.
Finally, the wars in which our country is still engaged.
We have experienced some success in Iraq recently, but, even if we hadn’t, the time has come for us to cut bait and leave.
We have a far bigger problem in Afghanistan. The Taliban and al Qaeda are reappearing and seem to be stronger than ever. We need to concentrate on destroying them, not only for our sake but for the sake of mankind. We also need to make it clear to our friends and enemies, alike, that no matter where these monsters are hiding, we will find them and destroy them. We will not do this by running torture chambers like Guantanamo. We will just beat them into submission in a war that we should have won long ago. We need to finish the job that the Bush Administration left undone left undone when it went into Iraq.
You may ask why I have not spent much time on Senator McCain or any time on Governor Palin. He is now permanently off my radar, and I hope that she never appears there again. I fear that she will, but that probably will wait till 2011 or 2012. I’m not holding my breath. I sort of hope she just stays in her igloo, and we never hear from her again.
I doubt it, but in the words of comedienne Judy Tannuta, “It could happen!”
HENRY A. HONIG – THE PUNDIT