Friday, January 23, 2009

The Press and the President - Obama Controls The Press - AP Voices Concern

In two separate incidences within the past 24 hours, the Press has run up against the new Obama administration – the AP is reporting that several news organization have noticed a lack of access to the President. This conclusion is based on the fact that only 4 reporters were allowed access to the “re-taking of the oath of Office” – the reason given was lack of space – the second ceremony would have had to have been moved to accommodate the press. The second issue is that of photographs. Apparently, the White House is not allowing Press photographers (or video) rather, distributing their own “stock photos” to the press. The most disturbing point in this report, however, is the fact that reporters “were not allowed to use the names of administration officials giving a background briefing on issues regarding the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba.” (AP). This is, for all intents and purposes, suppression of the press (see Lincoln).

In a separate incident, President Obama became irritated with reporters for asking questions during a “surprise visit” to the White House press room. When pressed, and after rebuffing a reporter from Politico for one question, summarily and not without irritation dismissed the same reporter when asked a follow-up – instead offering tidbits as to his exercise regime, as way of news. One must understand that the President has the right to control information and that, with executive powers, has the ability to virtually shut them out. In reference to Lincoln, and being mindful of the great admiration the current President has for the founder of the “opposition party”, one has to understand what steps President Lincoln took to insure his success.

From California State University – Long Beach, Craig R. Smith

Given the turmoil surrounding the war and the fact that many of the factions involved sought and received support in the press, it is not surprising that censorship of the press became a tool of the administration. Restrictions on First Amendment rights led to arrests of newspaper editors by military authorities, the military suppression of such newspapers, and the prohibition of the circulation and sale of those newspapers by military authorities.

Although it is a stretch to say that this President would go to such lengths to insure the success of his administration, (although, technically we at “at war”), the aforementioned bit of historical reference should be kept in mind, especially by those editors and reporters who feel entitled to access and information, and the ability to thwart the Office of the President in the interest of the Paper (i.e.: public). Such was the case throughout the Bush administration whereby any “top secret program” that the New York Times got wind of made front page news, despite the request of the Office of the Presidency to hold back due to national security issues. It is more likely that President Obama is very aware of the treatment of the past president, not having lived under a rock, and therefore, will do his utmost to control the press as it relates to issues he feels are, in a word, none of their business and not in the best interest of the nation; it remains to be seen what measures the current President will take should the press continue to ask hard questions, and or print (or broadcast) information that this President has “forbidden”.

Video below:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New York Senate Seat – No Dynasty - Caroline Kennedy Bows Out is reporting that Caroline Kennedy has removed her bid for the New York Senate seat left vacant by Hillary Clinton's confirmation as Secretary of State. Citing personal reasons, Kennedy withdrew herself from consideration by email on Thursday. Apparently, her bid for the seat was promoted by President Obama’s aids, noting that both Caroline and Ted Kennedy’s endorsement of Obama early on in the primary, were seen as critical to his candidacy. Politico sees Kennedy’s withdrawal in terms of national politics: ”her withdrawal is an early sign of the limits of the White House's power, at least over New York’s unpredictable governor, who will appoint a senator to replace Clinton.”.
That said there was the backlash from the citizens of New York, as well as many in the Democrat Party, who were vocal when it came to anointing another member of the Kennedy political dynasty. Governor Patterson may have been mindful that he is up for re-election in 2010.

Patterson has begun the vetting process for Democrats, Byron Brown, Mayor of Buffalo, and Kristen Gilibrand and Carolyn Maloney, both Congressional Representatives. Whoever is chosen by Patterson to fill the vacant seat will also be required to run for office in 2010. It is not without some interest that Maloney is reportedly receiving flack from constituents over the pending stimulus bill, the passage of which and the results, should they be less than touted by a White House and Congress in concert, may shorten her (or any Democrat running in 2010) Senate career.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inaugural Observations: Bush Relieved – Obama Nervous

White watching the Inauguration of the 44th President yesterday, most striking was the expressions and general demeanor of both George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama, as they prepared to exchange, what has become, for all intents and purposes, Party Leadership of the nation. (The later based on the premise that the President of the United States is the Titular Leader of his/her specific political party.)

While President Bush made his way to the ceremony, walking through crowds and past camera’s, one could not help but notice that his demeanor was relaxed and that he looked somewhat relieved. The burden of the office being what it is, the responsibility to the people, cannot be taken lightly or with certain arrogance – George Bush was elected to that office twice, he understood the responsibility all too well, and made decisions (unpopular as they may have been), which he truly felt were in the best interest of the nation (being privy to information that even the New York Times could not ferret out).

Enter Barack Obama, smiling, ever-so-slightly, appeared somewhat subdued, as if he was just given the keys to the dungeon (or, in truth, the codes to nuclear Armageddon). It was no wonder then, that during the oath, some stumbling of words took place – the responsibility of a position that is bestowed upon very few individuals by the people – those people who have the power to turn on a dime from adoring fans to detractors.

Therefore, as a Conservative, who has watched the pounding that President Bush took from a relentless press, as well as his own constituents who were expecting more in the line of social reforms, I feel some pity for the 44th President. The bar has been set so high, and expectations, once set, are difficult to damper (even with a call for sacrifice), that it is a matter of time before the detractors begin to vocalize, and the opposition, poised for the least mistake, will take full advantage of any missteps made along the way. His biggest challenge will be curtailing the excesses of a Congress in concert, one in which the strong personalities of Reid and Pelosi are driven by both ego and ideology. It is imperative, at this point, that support for the President be given by all Citizens of the United States of America, unless and until, the man makes credible errors that are cause for debate.

Although it is understood that half of America follow a more “conservative” frame of reference, the fact remains that Barack Hussein Obama is our President and should be treated as such. One cannot help but believe that certainly, he has the best interest of the people and the nation in mind, not unlike his predecessor, President George W. Bush. The difference between the two is simple, conservative are quietly critical (some), while those on the left will be exceptionally vocal should they not see every single campaign promise come to pass, and quickly. President Obama understands that he walks a fine line between breaking campaign promises and angering the left, while trying to maintain a middle-of-the-road governing style that will appease the center. (Not to mention that he now understands and is privy knowledge regarding every crisis this nation faces.) Should he fail at both, then his tenure, like Carters, will be shortened, regardless of any accomplishments he may make.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It’s About Time – Bush Commutes Border Agents Sentences

Former border control agents, Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio "Nacho" Ramos, were doing their job, when a drug smuggler was shot in the rear-end, while evading arrest. Instead of being hailed as heroes,(and snickering a bit over where the smuggler was shot) the two were prosecuted, and a jury of their peers sentenced them to serve time for a “crime” against said drug smuggler (who was also illegally crossing the border, lest one forget). There has been some pressure placed on the Bush administration regarding the commutation of the two men’s sentences from the get-go, however, somehow relations with the Mexican government, precluded the rights of American citizens as well as employees of a Federal agency. In the last minutes before the transition of power from one political party to the next, George W. Bush finally commuted Compean and Ramos’ sentences..

A great injustice was served when these two men were even arrested for performing their duty, this was a case of political correctness run amok - is it no wonder then that there are constantly openings for this particular post – one which is fraught with danger from the elements, those, using violence to cross a border illegally, and since this case came to light, fear of prosecution should one defend oneself against a criminal? It goes without saying that, when it comes to the border, and protecting our borders (as well as those who would immigrate legally, little has been done in the past eight years; one can bet the house that the situation will not improve with the new administration taking office today, given the open border policy pushed by the “powers behind the “throne”, Sen. Reid and Speaker Pelosi.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Massachusetts State GOP Party Candidates – Franco and Nassour offer Divergent Plans for the Future of the State Party.

The Massachusetts State Republican Committee will, at the end of January, elect a new Chairperson to lead the Party. The Republican Party in Massachusetts is considered to be almost non-existent by most media reports, however, the rise in “unenrolled voters”, and the slight but nearly identical decline in membership of the Democrat Party vis a vis the Republican Party is barely mentioned. According to the Secretary of State Voters statistics the Democrats make up 36.95% of the electorate, Republicans, 11.62%, “Unenrolled, 50.75%, and the balance Third Party designates. This represents a decline from 2006 for both the Democrat (36.91%) and Republican (12.5%) Party with an increase in in the number of “Unenrolled” (49.79%). Therefore, it will be up to the new GOP State Committee Chair to effectively brand the Party and reach out to those disenfranchised Conservatives who now designate themselves as “Unenrolled”. It should not go without notice that the 2008 Return of Votes for Massachusetts shows: Total Votes Cast: 3,102,995, with 1,108,854 votes cast for the McCain-Palin ticket compared to 1,904,097 votes cast for the Obama-Biden ticket, the balance going to third party candidates. Therefore, 36 percent of the electorate voted for the McCain-Palin ticket (see: 11.62% Registered as Republican) with 61% voting for the Obama-Biden ticket – the difference: “Unenrolled” voters in Massachusetts can make or break either Party.

Therefore, the two candidates for State Committee Chair have the daunting task of re-branding the Party to appeal to those “unenrolled” – many of whom are “grassroots conservatives”. A brief summary of the plans put forth by Mike Franco and Jennifer Nassour follows:

Mike Franco offers a three-point plan: the first point being to Recruitment of Grassroots and Committee Republicans with an eye towards rebuilding from the ground up – with a focus on seeking grassroots approval and endorsements, building coalitions between committee membership and issues groups, and an appeal to the “populist constituencies of Independents and Reagan democrats. Franco also puts for that the Party should be grounded in True Republicanism – noting that a good percentage of the electorate falsely believes the GOP to be “a country-club Party divorced from the lives of ordinary voters”. In short, Franco proposes a renewal and restoration of the Party image by emphasizing core values such as limited government, lower taxes, gun ownership and property rights and free enterprise and fair trade. He goes on to cite the results of California’s Proposition 8, noting that 70% to 53% of Black and Latino’s supported Proposition 8, while supporting the Obama-Biden ticket. He feels that in order to attract those voters, the Massachusetts Party must stand on core principles such as: Advocating for public policy in line with natural law, supporting family issues to include pro-life and traditional marriage and fielding multiple, statewide representative candidates. He further feels that although there are differences within the State Party, that the Party should adopt the same stance as the Republican National Committee, which stands in direct opposition to eh Democrats.

Franco’s final point is the restoration of the State Party through a process of fundraising and overall reorganization of the various local and regional state committees, the “nuts and bolts” of running the organization. He summarizes that it may take as long as three to five years to rebuild the party, with an emphasis on re-branding. For more on Franco and the Mass GOP Race, visitPolitickerMA.

Jennifer Nassour, also a candidate for the Mass Republican State GOP chair, has offered a comprehensive plan to renew and revitalize the State Party. She begins by emphasizing the decline in voter registration and also looks at rebuilding from the “bottom up”. She underscores that the Party has great strengths, dedicated activist, willing fundraisers and that the fundamental message of the Party does resonate with Massachusetts voters. She calls for a “top-down” management style, one which would rely on a strong base of grassroots support. Further, she feels that the MassGOP is a “voice for common sense in the Commonwealth”, the core of job creation and entrepreneurship, demanding individual responsibility, defending family values and limited government and taxation, as well as including basics such as public safety and education are the cornerstone values that will appeal to new members. Ms. Nassour’s plan begins with a focus on fundraising: She favors the Creation of a Finance Committee and Chair, Establishment of regional fundraising events geared towards attracting all interested voters emphasising a lower-dollar amount. The creation of specific campaigns to meet target needs - voter registration drives, candidate support, technology upgrades and advertising. She also intends to hold specific “group targeted events” – including young professionals, women and youth. She is in favor of suspending the Chair’s Salary, as well as implementing other fiscally conservative programs within the State Party.

Nassour’s plans for Grassroots and Field operations are extensive. She includes distributing media outreach materials in order to carry the Mass GOP message to the regional media, and includes briefings and talking points timed to coincided with GOP activity on Beacon Hill. She also seeks to energize city, ward and town committees, offering incentives to those who excel at voter registration and fund raising and well as implementing several voter registration programs in concert with the local and city Committees.

Nassour is goal-oriented and believes in team-building as a means to an end – this includes restructuring the state committee to work with a newly designed “Farm Team”. This “Farm Team” (grassroots) will be supported by utilizing new media messaging via blogs and weekly videos as well as the enlistment of former leaders and elected officials to mentor new candidates and committees. Grassroots cannot be secured without the use of Technology. Nassour plans to modernize the party’s communications, including blogs, online videos and emails marketing. This plan will bring the Massachusetts State GOP into a more competitive arena, allowing “Young Republicans” to fully participate.

Nassour also proposes increasing the competitiveness of Republican candidates for the 2010 elections, with a focus on retaining and increasing seats held by Republicans on the State level. She focuses on Messaging – regaining an outspoken voice in order to spread the message to every corner of the Commonwealth. She proposes engaging the press, and using new technologies in order to effectively brand the Party.

Jennifer Nassour's complete plan is available here at

Regardless of which of the two candidates for the Massachusetts State GOP chair is elected by committee at the end of this month, one thing is certain; the candidate that will engage the media, work hand in hand with grassroots conservatives (many of which are designated “Unenrolled”) to increase voter registration and turnout and, most importantly, one who understands the necessity to include grassroots conservatives, specifically unenrolleds, will be able to accomplish the unthinkable: fast track a vibrant and robust Republican Party within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

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