And my Tea Party was hateful?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Obama and Special Interests

I can not get over Barrack Obama’s claim that he does not take money from PACs. I have read his napkin sketch (aka Obama’s Blueprint for America) over a dozen times. My disagreement with his policies are continually over shadowed by the primary claim of the document, “Unlike other candidates Obama’s campaign refuses to accept contributions from Washington lobbyists and political action committees.”. This single statement is not a political exaggeration but a whopper of a lie walking the finest line of campaign finance laws. Lobbyists and Political Action Committees are not at fault for the state of our union. Our politicians are. Since the founding of our Democracy, individuals and groups have tried to sway the opinion or lobby elected leaders. In my daily life, I have lobbied my boss for a raise, lobbied my boss to be given a certain assignment, lobbied my boss to receive additional staffing resources on a project and lobbied my boss to take action on a small issue between staffers prior to it becoming a major issue. My boss, the leader of our capitalistic clan, used his judgment and decided which of my ideas were valid. Asking my boss to do something is not evil, wrong or illegal. If my boss were to show preference to my requests over what is appropriate for the firm as a whole would be wrong. Our elected officials are responsible for not being leaders and separating the needs of special interests from what is best for the nation.
Barrack Obama does more than take money from PACs, he is the chairman the HOPE fund. The homepage to the HOPE fund has been redirected to the Obama campaign website, but the body of the website remains accessible. In the 2008 election cycle to HOPE fund spent total of $624,652 ($291,000 of which was spent on congressional elections). Official FEC documents on the HOPE fund can be accessed at the FEC website. The FEC does not require the board members of the PAC to be part of the public record. Obama is now using his trust to funnel campaign funds into swing states. Joseph Biden is using his Unite Our States PAC to transfer funds to key states and skirt campaign finance laws. In contrast to the Democratic ticket, McCain’s Straight Talk PAC has stayed out of the congressional races and transferred less than $10,000 to other PACs. I have been unable to locate any Pac associated with Sarah Palin. During her gubernatorial campaign, Palin took contribution from powerful groups such as Dentists of Alaska, The Alaska Corrections Officers Association and the Alaska Laborers Local 341. These influence peddling organizations will undoubtedly hold sway over Plain when she goes to Washington (sarcasm implied). Palin’s finances can be reviewed at the Alaska Public Commission Website. is one of the most widely know PACs in the country. Move on has developed new strategies to assist the Obama campaign including organizing phone banks and selling t-shirts (see the following emails from "Host Obama Party", "Attend an Obama Party" and "Obama T-Shirt"). With all of these campaign actions on behave of Obama, how can he claim he does not benefit from PACs? Pro-Obama literature and anti-McCain literature is all over Move On’s homepage. The "Host an Obama Party" email has a link to donate the the Obama's Presidential run. The Obama Campaign shows that Move On has contributed $347,463. Move On’s expenditure report shows more than $1.5 million being given to the Obama Campaign. Move on is using it’s website to solicit donations and then earmarks the donations to the Obama Campaign. The earmark contributions are treated as individual contributions, which allow Move On to contribute far more than the $5,000 limit per candidate per election cycle. While this is a clever tactic, it insults the intentions of campaign finance laws. Any organization that contributes more than a million dollars to a candidate will expect a seat at the Obama table. Will Obama have the leadership to veto Move On’s suggestions when the countries’ best interests are not represented?
Act Blue allows any average Joe with a computer to become a campaign fundraiser. Act Blue’s website claims to have contributed over $700,000 to Obama for America. When examining the expenditures of Act Blue, only a little over $450,000 dollars is claimed in the expenditure detail. The Obama for America committee does not have to claim the money from Act Blue, because once again the majority of the donations are earmark contributions.
The independant expenditures on behalf of Barrack Obama and against John McCain are will into the seven digits. Many pundits have focused on the amount of these expenditures and claim these expenditures prove a connection between Obama and special interests groups. Making this connection is a very dangerous road to walk, which puts free speech and freedom of the press at risk. Despite the impropriety of the expenditures, an individual or group has the right to purchase air time to discuss issues that are important to their institution. While I find the actions dishonest, these actions are protected by the constitution. Despite the appearance of impropriety focusing on one group's desire to interject themselves into the Presidential election is the right of all citizens n a democracy.
The Obama campaign has reaped the fiscal rewards of various special interests groups hovering on the sidelines of the campaign. Groups and individual have and will always attempt to affect the outcome of an election. The onus of responsibility falls with the candidate not the individual trying to assert influence. If the Obama campaign is unwilling to admit their association with these groups, how can we expect Obama to stand up against these groups? If Obama does not have the testicular fortitude to acknowledge these groups are supporting him financially, how can we expect him to stand up for our interests as President?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

More Campaign Ploys from the McCain?

The Democrat pundits claim the McCain is suspending his campaign On Wednesday to garner publicity and the financial crisis is a convenient scapegoat. The McCain campaign is trying to reschedule Friday’s debate, so the Senator may return to work in Congress. Obama refused to cancel the debate because a President needs to know how to multitask. Thursday both candidates returned to Washington to meet with President Bush about Wall Street’s rescue plan. McCain recognizes his responsibility to the American people as United States Senator and does not want to neglect those obligations while pursuing the Presidency.

The Republican Party has chastised McCain for years because McCain reached over the aisle so much; It was unclear on which side of the aisle he sat. A Senior Senator with a record of bi-partisanship is a valuable player in congressional actions. A first term Junior Senator has little responsibility in the Congressional hierarchy and could easily prepare for the debate while voting present. While Obama studies, McCain will use his long relationships and experience in the Senate usher compromise between the parties. Ceasing a campaign to attend to the duties which you were elected to do is not a political ploy. It is responsibility, good old fashioned responsibility.

On November 4th, one man will be elected the President of the Untied States and another man will remain a Senator. Until inauguration day, both men are Senators and have sworn an oath to serve the people. Pageantry and slogans convince the public to try a political ideology or consumer product. Reputation and results can not be manufactured in a studio. McCain understands the important role every Senator plays and is not willing to abandon he post. Real leaders know how to prioritize, when to sacrifice and when to self promote.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Conservative vs. Radical

Joe Klein’s article in the September issue of Time Magazine entitled “Conservative vs. Radical” exemplifies why the print media’s monopoly is slowly turning into a chapter 11. Obama has taught us that words matter, so the commentary will focus on the words. The full text of the article can be read at Time’s website. Please read the full text prior to commenting on my synopsis of the piece so the reader my properly judge the context of the below excerpts.

Klein (yes the guy who wants everyone to turn off their air conditioner) makes a single accurate point in the article, McCain is the radical an in this race and Obama is the cold calculating showmen (conservative in Joe Klein speak). McCain has been one to buckle to the established order of party politics to promote the people’s desires in the Senate. Obama in stark contrast has destroyed his political opposition and rarely reaches across the aisle (Obama’s carpet bombing political strategies do not leave others across the aisle to reach to).

Klein’s piece pretends to examine what the Vice Presidential pick reveals about the candidates. Klein declined the opportunity to compare and contrast the records and history of the four names on this year’s Presidential ticket. Instead, Klein used the piece as another opportunity to promote the Democrat agenda. Joe Biden is described in the article as:

“he added experience to the ticket, a reliable loyalist and gleeful attack dog, a working-class Roman Catholic with a terrific personal story”.

Klein used a single sentence to describe Joe Biden’s political career. Klein provided no criticism of Biden prior work or personal life. Biden’s family was not discussed nor was their political ideology questioned. Instead of criticizing the any of Obama’s politics, Klein provides constructive criticism to Obama campaign:

“It would be nice if he, say, challenged the teachers' unions, which didn't support him anyway and whose work rules choke out any chance of creative experimentation in the public-school system. Or if he stood against the atrocious Farm Bill, which spreads unnecessary fiscal fertilizer upon an already profitable industry. Or if he didn't feel the need to promise a tax cut to 95% of American families.”

The terms “it would be nice” or “he didn’t feel” sound more like character building criticism from your therapist than critical analysis of the next Commander and Chief. The words used to describe the Republican ticket are far more inflammatory. Palin is described as a “blatant porker” (Biden and Obama are not?) and having “a lack of interest in foreign policy” (Because I want the Governor of my state trying to solve the problems of foreign countries and ignoring the needs of my state). The actual number of words used to praise the Obama campaign is far less than the total used to undermine the Republican ticket:

“Palin was a blatant porker when she was mayor of Wasilla, hiring a lobbying firm to rake in the projects; she was close to the corrupt megaporker Senator Ted Stevens, a frequent McCain adversary and champion of the mythic bridge. Rather than putting "country first," her husband had been a member of a local secessionist fringe group called the Alaskan Independence Party, whose slogan is "Alaska first," and Palin apparently attended or spoke at several of the group's meetings. Her lack of interest in foreign policy and national security was the opposite of McCain's obsession with such issues. She called the Iraq war a "task that is from God."
Indeed, it seemed Palin and McCain held common ground on only two high-profile issues — an admirable rebelliousness when it came to their party's hierarchy and their opposition to abortion rights. Given the fact that McCain's top two choices for Vice President, Lieberman and Ridge, favored abortion rights, it would not be unfair to conclude that McCain's devotion to this issue was more political than personal."

Klein continues to criticize McCain for not selecting his mirror twin to be his running mate. Klein contends that this is a sign of McCain’s failure to properly vet Palin. McCain and Palin have a difference of opinion on many issues. This proves that McCain is not looking to fill his cabinet with yes men. Biden on the other hand will spout any party line in front of any audience regardless of the outcome (Stand up Chuck!). Klein’s failure to examine Biden’s record is another example of the failure of our media to provide honest exploration into the candidate’s record.

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