Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What the British Elections can teach us

The British Elections for Prime Minister are eight days away.

I don’t drink tea, (even ice tea) I don’t say “bloody” every other word and I don’t want a king and queen over America. All of that said there are things about the British Elections that here in America it would not be a bad idea to imitate.
I’m not talking about the fact that in the prime minister debate they had seven party nominees competing. (This wasn’t even the primaries!) Nor am I saying that we should call each other names like they do, (idiot, dodgy, useless, just to name a few) or scream and stomp each other down like they do. Americans have enough anger issues without needing anything exported from our “mother nation.” But I am talking about the fact that their campaign season lasts just six weeks.
That’s it, just six. Five weeks ago the campaigns began with a speech from the current prime minister, David Cameron; he notified the queen he was dissolving congress after five years of continuance, gave a speech trashing his opponents, and was off to the races. And eight days from today the elections will be held.
That’s a bit different then America. Here, the campaigns seemed to start as soon as the Networks called it for Obama in 2012, with speculation about who it would be in 2016. If Britain does a hundred yard dash of a race, we do a marathon-no, make that two marathons back to back. (Nomination then general) We are still well over 200 days out from the first caucus for the Republican Nomination, and already we have Republicans trading blows, trying to raise money and hit each other.
And here she is: the 89 year old Queen of England, the woman who will officially decide
gets to run the joint when its all over, in reality she will, as always, choose the head of
the party that garners the most seats in the House of  Commons to form the government.
As for the Democrats, they seem to already have chosen their person, and now all pundits seem to be able to talk about is that she went to Chipotle. The cycle of news is vicious and very, very, very long.
And it fills up the airways-seriously, with a 24 hour news cycle one would think there is plenty of time for everything, but apparently not. We can either follow Hillary and her “logo crisis” or we can know what is actually going with the president we already elected, but we can’t know both.
The whole point of the Presidential Race in the first place is that we will elect someone who then become president, and start leading. But with the endless campaigns, and this is at all levels of elected office, incumbents have to spend thousands and thousands of hours campaigning.  And even when they win, they have to keep up the endless fundraisers, meet and greats, etc. that take up so much time.
The Presidential Race especially is already off and running and we are still 558 days away! By comparison, the British Elections could take place 13 times between now and then.
Now obviously there are differences between ours and the British Elections. We are a larger country, four to five times larger. So our cycles would naturally take longer. But the truth is, 600 day campaigns come at a colossal cost to pocketbooks of donors and candidates, as well as news networks. But the biggest cost isn’t in money. It’s in the fact that with all of the interest in who will inhabit the oval office next, or indeed any office next, way too much time is taken away, not only in the people’s interest in what decisions are being made that affect them, but for incumbent presidents as well as senators and congress people who have much less time to do the job they were hired to do, because they are too busy collecting votes to study issues and look for answers to the real questions.
The problem will probably continue for years to come. America has always loved a good competition from the Kentucky Derby to the World Series, so it is natural that they would follow the grandest of all like it’s the Super Bowl. But it’s not really a good thing.
What the British Elections can teach us is that, as has been seen to those closely following the campaigns there, the issues come out, the people and candidates become known. It doesn't take years to get to know candidates, especially if they tell the truth. And another factor is that with the races so short, the people are paying much closer attention, so not only are they better informed, but also a candidate who slips up is in worst trouble.
With the British Elections coming down to the wire and the Liberals and Conservatives neck to neck in the polls, there has been a fear in British Newspapers for some time now-they think that maybe their six week elections cycle is too long.

Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, April 27, 2015

Jeb Bush's Laughable Hypocrisy

Kansas City, KA - It was once, a long time ago when Twitter had not been invented and America had not yet been blessed by importing pizza to its shores that men (no women even ran in those days) who wanted to be President of the United States didn’t run for that office.

Things were different back then, with what was called “front porch campaigns,” where candidates, while, apparently, sitting on their front porches, let it be known among a few that they wanted to run for president, and those people went out and campaigned. It was seen as undignified, in the first few years of American Presidential Politics, to actually run a campaign yourself, because anyone who did that must be “greedy” for power. You just sat on their porch, and sat hard, kept your fingers crossed, and hoped your people could pull it off.
Of course that ended a long time ago, and now candidates are in a desperate run for the White House in which they often can’t afford more than a couple of days away from the campaign trail, where five to ten speeches a day can be a norm, where there is constant attempts to make the headlines and get interviews to remind Americans why they are such a great person and why you should vote for them, and everyone is in a mad dash-and-grab food fight.
So it would seem ridiculous if a candidate, especially one who many claim is a name from the past, such as Jeb Bush, were to try a strategy from the past, and give his campaign over to someone else, someone who legally, once he declares his actual candidacy, Jeb can exercise no control over.
But that seems to be exactly what former Governor of Florida; the sixty-two year old Jeb Bush seems to be planning. Announcing just recently that his Super PAC, (Political Action Committee) will be taking over many of the things traditionally done by campaigns, such as, like, actually campaign.
For a man who wants to be nominee for the Republican Party, and thus by proxy be Hillary-basher-in-chief, and keep up our party line about “how dare she have a financial scandal” although she didn’t technically break the law, Bush doing what he is doing is laughable indeed.
The Bush Brothers
Of course there is no question why Jeb is planning on handing over control of his campaign to his “Super PAC,” it is because of campaign finance laws. A  candidate’s campaign, as the law now stands, would not be able to collect more than 2,700 dollars from each individual donor. But a PAC can take unlimited amounts of contributions. So, it is a win-win for Bush, he can remain running-but-not-legally-running hide and go seek operation for as long as possible, thus allowing him to continue to organize “Right to Rise” and fundraise for it as he is already doing, and place a very trusted man at the helm as he has already done, and then when he feels that his “non-campaign” is ready for primetime, this group that he founded, that he fundraised for, and whose sole purpose is make Jeb Bush president of the United States, will supposedly have no contact whatever with him. Right.
Of course, nobody really believed in the early days of “dignified” politics, that those candidates were not running their campaigns, and it’s hard to believe Bush wouldn’t be running his. Impossible, in fact. Even the New York Times said this morning in an editorial the laws are nearly impossible to enforce. And of course, while Bush would not be sitting in the headquarters of the PAC, he would only need to give speeches, in which he could, perfectly legally say this is what he would do if he were in charge of it, and of course, you can bet the next morning that will happen.
Hillary Clinton has money scandals and scandals in just about everything else. She has as many holes in her armor as a sinking battleship, and for Jeb Bush, the man who wants to be the “good guys” nominee to start doing end runs around laws like he is a football carrier is not illegal, but smacks of a sort of elitism that we already know he possesses. The office of the presidency is the most sacred trust ever invented in Western Civilization, outside perhaps that of the pontiff, and the man who holds it must be above reproach in all. In this thing, Bush is not.
However, in all of Jeb’s convoluted handling of his “non-campaign,” in all of his gaffes, in all of his weak stances on issues, there is one glimmer of hope. He is in fourth place for the GOP nomination. The hope is that he stays there.
Andrew C. Abbott

Friday, April 24, 2015

Dear Democrats: Thank you

Around 170 days ago I stood in a living room in California when I was told that Eric Holder, the first black man to be confirmed as Attorney General would be stepping down amid scandals that have rocked his tenure, including being held in contempt of congress. His replacement, as appointed by President Barak Obama, would be the first black woman to be nominated, Loretta Lynch. She has a history of being an able prosecutor and being tough on human traffickers.
So one would think that Lynch, who is from New York, would be any easy sell to Democrats, especially since their own President confirmed her. But it was nearly 170 days, in one of the longest confirmation battles for an Attorney General Confirmation in history, before, when driving in a car across Iowa, yesterday, I finally heard she had gotten a yes vote.
The food fight has been vicious, with Senator Dick Durbin saying that Republicans were treating her like Rosa Parks, prompting FOX News pundits to literally scream on air “shame on you!” Durbin said Republicans were asking Lynch to go to the back of the bus.
But while the Democrats complained constantly, the Republicans said again and again and again that they were willing to give this woman her vote on the floor of the senate. But they wanted a very small concession-that money from a fund created on a human trafficking bill would not be used to promote the immoral act of abortion.
But the Democrats were tenacious in holding on to the right of government to pay for abortions. And so they refused to let it happen, and Lynch has been stuck in limbo all of this time, simply because Harry Reid, a man whose only distinction in the senate is being one of the worst members in history of a body which once held Preston Brooks (who broke a cane over another senator's head) and the men who started the civil war would prefer to complain rather than do what real leaders call governing, a part of which is making deals.
The deal has finally been made, and we at last have our first African American woman as attorney general. Those Americans that are glad to see Eric Holder go, and a woman who by all indicators will be a major improvement on Holder’s mess he called the Department of Justice come, can thank Harry Reid, Democrat and minority leader, for finally telling Lynch she can come to the front of the bus, because it was their fault she was held back, and no one else's.
Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Selecting a minister who is prime: The British Elections

#10 Downing Street is the British equivalent, in London, of our White House. And there is a mad scramble among seven contenders to sit in it.

n the United Kingdom, for the first time in five years, the people are going to the polls. It will happen two weeks from today, and the country with a population just shy of 70 million, a nation that has been out greatest ally almost since the day after we whipped them in our great Revolutionary War and sent them packing, except for the unpleasant time they burned down Washington DC of course, does things a bit differently than we do.

Current Prime Minister, David Cameron
They have no president, and what they have, the prime minister, is not elected like our president is. In fact, in the House of Commons, their lower, popularly elected house of 650 members, the people cast the votes for the members of some seven to twelve different parties. The party that gets the most votes usually will then be asked by the Queen to form a government. And the head of the party becomes Prime Minister.

If the Prime Minister's coalition breaks down, or if at any time his party gives him a vote of "no confidence" he falls from power within hours, or as the saying goes "the government falls" as is not an uncommon occurrence, and their is a mad scramble for his job. David Cameron however, has managed to hold his Tories and their allies the Liberal Democrats together long enough to have a new election, and to give him a new lease on life.

Ed Milliband, head of Labor
However, this time round, as it was to a lesser extend five years ago when current Prime Minister David Cameron came in, things are not going to be so easy. The two major parties, their version of Republicans, the Tories and their version of Democrats, the Labor Party, (although it should be recalled that is a rough assessment, Tories would be considered liberal Republicans, for the most part) are both hovering around only 30% support each. The deluge of other parties, (fourteen currently hold seats in the House of Commons) including the highly conservative United Kingdom Independence Party, (UKIP), so called because one of their main tenants is that they want the United Kingdom to become free of the European Union, have upset a delicate balance of power. If no party gets a majority, and no party is expected to, then either Ed Milliband, the leader of the Labor Party or David Cameron, the current Prime Minister and head of the Tories, will form a government with enough other parties to between them hold a majority of 326 voting members in the house of commons. All of the losers will form the opposition, under either Milliband or Cameron, whichever loses, and that one will become the “Shadow Minister” with a job mainly to complain about what the other party is doing, and how he would have done it way better. (Sound familiar?)
The British are facing things which many here can relate to, although their most important concerns may be surprising. In a poll taken not long ago, it showed that the thing most commonly identified as the most important factor in the race is immigration, with 27%, with another 45% saying it is “important.” The next most common thing is the economy, at only 13%. 28% that is “important” but not the most important thing.
Nigel Farage, a man who probably won't be prime minister, but because he can
decide who his highly conservative UKIP Party sides with come election day to
form a government, he may be the kingmaker when it comes to either Milliband
or David Cameron attempting to become the "Minister Who is Prime."
The conundrum for Brits is difficult. They want a strong economy, (who doesn’t?), but they are a part of the European Union, which means they cannot easily stop migrants from either European Members from coming, and well over a million have come to their small island because of their strong economy, and Europe’s weak one. The stronger Britain is, the more people come, and the more jobs, so the argument goes, are taken from British people.

Cameron promises that if, after the seventh of next month, election day, he is still in #10 Downing Street, he will give the people a referendum on whether they want to stay in the EU. He states he personally would prefer to remain, thinking there is more good for Britain inside than out, but believes it should be the people's choice.
In the next two weeks I’ll talk more about them, but that, in a nutshell, is the situation facing Edward Milliband of the red, liberal Labor party and Prime Minister David Cameron, head of the Conservative Tories. And the tipping point party, UKIP, under Nigel Farage.
The arguments will be fiercer and fiercer now as the time winds down, and with all of the shouting matches that British Politicians are so fond of engaging taking place, the Queen’s Island, with their castles and gardens, tea times and expensive horses, won’t be looking quite so dignified.

Andrew C. Abbott

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Republicans can ride millennials all the way to the White House

Riding the Wave

It is no secret that both major political parties desperately need youth on their side in 2016
As a seventeen year old right now, who will be voting for the first time in the election of 2016, I see a desperate need on both sides of the aisle to get young blood involved. Just a look at the average political press conference shows a bunch of old men and women standing around talking about something nobody in my generation has a clue about…being too busy watching Downton Abbey or checking Facebook to read the news.
But there are hundreds of thousands of us coming of age in 2016, and the general election for president of the United States is one of the few times that we will be paying attention to the news and the issues. There are millions of us under 25, and the party that can snare us into its fold will have a massive powerhouse voting bloc if we could be motivated to get out and vote.   
A quick look at the two parties shows us a massive contrast. For the Democrats: Hillary Clinton is pushing 70, has been around for a while, and is hardly new blood. Plan B isn’t a whippersnapper either: six times senator Joe Biden was alive long before the first satellite was sent up. We aren’t impressed.   
The Republicans are looking way better, with the likes of Cruz, Rubio, and Paul. They come across as more in touch with us, and that they get what makes us tick, then someone like say Hillary, who can’t even do emails right, where we moved on a long time ago to messaging.
We are a generation ripe for the Republican’s picking. Coming of age in the troubled Obama administration, we have grown up hearing how good things used to be-and the Democrats have been in charge in the White House all that time when things were bad. So switching plans when the last one hasn’t been working seems pretty logical to us.
But the GOP cannot waste this opportunity. And right now, they’re not. Ted Cruz is already appealing to young people, announcing his bid in a room with 10,000 college kids in it. And the others who have a serious chance are active on the internet. For instance Paul announcing his bid on social media before giving his speech.   
But with all of these things in their favor, Republicans have been known to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. And they could mess up in a hurry if they are not careful. We are a new type of youth, we are not rallied by the same things the kids of the eighties were.
Hatred and charges against opponents devoid of facts insult us. The Republican who wants the GOP nomination or to win the general election needs to understand that we have iPhones and internet, and if he misrepresent his opponent’s arguments or his own record he might as well jump off a balcony, because he’s out.   
As for the past, Reagan is just a name to us; we don’t know him outside of YouTube clips. A revered name, sure, but we want to hear what the candidate has to say, not what Reagan would have said if he were here. Because he isn’t.

But being a new type of Republican isn’t bad. Just as the Republican of 2015 is not the Republican of 1995, the Republican of 95’ wasn’t the Republican of 65’ or 35’. We keep moving.
The Republicans have a golden opportunity to connect with us, to get us on their side, and to ride us to the White House, if they don’t drop the ball, well’ give them the presidency.

The big donors may have the money, and it may be attractive to some candidates to go back in time to get that money, but we have the time, we have blogs and the Twitter accounts to rip obsolete messages, bad presentations and bad candidates to pieces, and if we make you a laughing stock because you are still caught in the 90’s, or-God help you-the 80’s, then all the money in the world can’t save you.

Andrew C. Abbott #thelovestate

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Good Enough for the Founding Fathers

Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton, in the last week, both announced they are running for president. One is the junior senator from Florida, and 43 years old. The other is the former secretary of state, and 67. Some worry that Rubio is too young, and some that Hillary is too old, to be president.
But the question of age is rather redundant. Republicans seem to forget that our beloved Reagan was 71 when he became president, and the Democrats beloved Kennedy was 43. It is the ideas, not the age, that matters. Both Rubio, and the Junior Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, who is also running, would make better presidents at 40 than Hillary would at 80. Not because they are Republicans, there are a lot of Republicans who have no business being in office of any kind, but because, on the whole, their ideas are good.
Hillary has old ideas. The ones that have been tried before, and have failed before. So while she is not herself too old to be president, her ideas sure are.
Perhaps neither Cruz nor Rubio will be president, perhaps neither one of them is the best choice, but age should not be an issue in this race. Once you hit 35, the question of age should be nil. If you are old enough for the founding fathers, you should be old enough for us.
Below, in their announcements of Sunday and Monday respectively, are Hillary's video and Rubio's speech. Of course, words are not the only indicator, but when someone can't even get their rhetoric right, like Hillary, it become obvious they shouldn't be president.
Recently, when Rubio, who is about to turn 44 next month was asked if 43 is old enough to be president, he said he didn't know, but 44 sure is.
Andrew C. Abbott #thelovestate

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

150 Years On: The Civil War's Last Casualty

150 years ago yesterday evening, at Ford’s Theatre, in Washington DC, Abraham Lincoln was watching a play with his wife and several others, when a man who never did anything in his life except fire a bullet, John Wilkes Booth, shot our sixteenth president in the back of the head. 150 years ago this morning, the President of the United States, the man who had saved the union and won one of our bloodiest wars, was dead.

To this day Lincoln remains in some places a controversial figure. With books entitled Lincoln’s Marxists, and others, smearing him for doing everything from imprisoning the grandson of Francis Scott Key to even fighting the South at all. There are still those, even today, which defend the Confederate States of America, saying they were on the right side in the Civil War, and Lincoln on the wrong one.
Of course, while Lincoln was not perfect, (which president ever has been?) these critics miss the point. He saved the union. He ended one of the greatest human rights abuses in history-slavery. Of course, the best way to have ended slavery would have been for there to have been no war, but that didn’t happen. Lincoln firmly believed that if the Union was worth one war to create, it was worth another to save.
The Civil War had ended, for all intents and purposes, five days before, when Robert E. Lee has finally realized at Appomattox Court House, that he could not outrun the Union Army under US Grant, and had surrendered. The war would officially end in June, but the fighting was, at this point, over.
Abraham Lincoln was the final casualty of a war that had ripped the nation apart for five years, and which was fought over things which are still argued about to this day. Although we are no longer in real danger of the nation sending armies against itself again, we are still torn by the questions of civil rights and slavery, from Ferguson to South Carolina, the debate rages on.
Abraham Lincoln died too early. With his death the Radical Republicans in congress went on a rampage to punish the South, rather than begin the healing. It lasted for years. Had Lincoln been there, they probably wouldn’t have been able to do it. So perhaps, for all of the hatred thrown against him, Lincoln was one of the best friends the South, and the Union, ever had.

Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, April 13, 2015

Marco Rubio: Not too young

This evening, at the Freedom Tower in Miami, Marco Rubio, the 43 year old freshman senator from Florida is probably going to announce that he is running for president. He will be one of the youngest in a relatively young field, the “Tea Party Favorite” some call him; he was one of the “radicals” that rode into the 112th congress on a wave of anger over Obamacare.

Well, now we are in the 114th congress, and Rubio is looking to ride a wave of anger over Obama in general all the way to the White House. An American born Cuban, Rubio is a man many have said was too young to run. Here are some facts.
The Catholic Freshman Senator, is currently one year older than Jack Kennedy, another Catholic senator, when Jack was elected to office. Although Rubio would be 45 when he was sworn in, making him the second youngest president in history to be elected, were it to happen.
Of course, in 1988, Dan Quayle compared himself to Kennedy when attacked about his lack of experience while he was running on the Bush/Quayle ticket to which Lloyd Bentsen responded “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy.”
Although Kennedy was elected twice to the senate, (not finishing his second term to become president,) and before that he served several years in the house, Rubio served four terms in the Florida House of Representatives, both as Majority Leader and as Speaker of the House.
Rubio is also a vote getter, as shown most evidently when he ran against Florida Governor Charlie Crist in 2010 for Senate, Crist had money and popularity on his side or so it seemed, and Rubio entered the race with only 3% support. He sometimes says in speeches that everyone who thought he could win lived in his house. (He has four children.)
Rubio is entering a field that will probably soon be crowded with Republicans of every stripe, and possibly by some people that aren’t really Republicans at all.  He has made errors in the past, such as his being a part of the “Gang of Eight” that tried to reform immigration, but then the Boston Bombing happened, they were unable to announce, and eventually their scheme died.
But Rubio is also someone who has a history of being able to make deals. When he became Speaker of the House in Florida, he was forced to fight against long odds, and when he became senator the odds were probably ever longer. In the coming weeks and months we will learn more about him and his ideas for America.
Rubio has always had a history of following a favorite Kennedy maxim: "We may not be able to do it better than anyone else, but we can work a lot harder than anyone else."

Andrew C. Abbott #thelovestate

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Immortal Game of Chess


The Brooklyn Eagle was in the early to mid-nineteen hundreds the newspaper that reported on the Brooklyn Dodgers and baseball, and was the paper that famously said “The game of ball is glorious.” Well, if the game of ball is glorious, then the game of chess is well-nigh divine.
It is a game that was not the invention of any one man or group of men, but evolved slowly, across the centuries, in many places, at many times. Believed by some to have originated in India, it was long the games of kings and lords, in fact legend has it that knights had to know how to play chess, due to its strategic nature.
Much has changed about chess across the years, from the colors of the pieces to what they were called, from chariot to knight to elephant, depending on where and when you lived, to the difference in where those pieces were placed. Originally the pieces we now call the knight and bishop were reversed, and for a long time the queen did not exist at all; or else had different movements.
Besides from the board itself, the way the game has been viewed has also changed dramatically. At one point, in ancient times, according to handbooks written for their good conduct at the time, monks were not to waste time in the frivolous game of chess, because people constantly bet on it. At other times it was the game only of the rich, such as in England for a while, when a single piece could take two or four men to lift. At times, such as when Edgar Allen Poe wrote his books about France, it was considered a stupid man’s game, and not being for serious thinkers. Today it is looked on as the ultimate strategy game, no chance, just brains.
Prepared for Battle
The legends and mythical stories that surround chess are so multiplied and many that it is now impossible to tell the truth from the fiction. (It is not true that Sherlock Holmes ever played a game with Moriarty.) My personal favorite is the story of the old man who sat by the wayside with a chess board, when the merchant came by he asked “old man, who are you playing?”
“Allah” the old man said. The merchant asked “Who is winning?” the old man replied that Allah had just won, and because of this, he had to pay Allah money. The merchant asked how he would do this, and the old man said Allah would send some good man, in fact, he just had! And the old man gave the merchant the small sum he had bet on the game with “Allah.” But when the merchant came back that way, the chess board sat there and the side without a player was checkmated. The old man said Allah had lost this day, but the wager had been much, much higher. However, Allah would pay his bet through some good man he would send by. He looked at the rich merchant and said that it must be...why, it must be the merchant who was to pay him!
There are the stories of the universality of chess, such as the Russian Peasant in World War II, who was playing the German at chess, when the Russian army attacked. The German ran out and fought, and the Russians took the town. The story goes a Russian soldier then came, saw the game, and finished it.
The game is the ultimate thinking game, as one of the men who was involved in the Deep Blue v. Kasparov Scandal said, the number of atoms in the universe is a small number compared to the possibilities of a game that can be played on a chess board. It is truly a game which will take a mind and expand it to the limits of possibility, yet while keeping it within the range of 32 pieces, and 64 squares.
The strategy is pretty simple. Protect your king, don't lose too many pieces, take his king. But yet the ways you do that, the ways your opponent can stop you from doing that, are so many, so complex, so complicated, that you can fast have a headache.

It is hard to say why the game of chess has remained immortal. Many other games of the same sort were played in the early days when it was invented, strategy games, war games. Perhaps it is because of the tactics involved, which it has been said can carry over from everything from war to politics. Perhaps it is because the game itself is deeply enjoyable, and it is because it allows humans to do what they constantly are trying to do, always improve, because the fact is that the greatest player can always become a better player. And they always are, as evidenced by the fact that the two greatest players in the history of the world are living right now.
And possibly chess is well loved because of its leveling qualities. The king can play the peasant, as in King Arthur, or the sailor can defeat the captain, as in Sails. The most ordinary person from the worst circumstances can rise to heights yet unknown. And yet defeat at the board has brought about near insanity, especially with brilliant players. As when Kasparov lost to the computer Deep Blue, it was said to have “broken him.” Video of the incident shows him looking distraught, perturbed, and confused. More than one chess player has committed suicide when they were struggling.
Perhaps it is true that “the most terrifying phrase in any game is that of ‘checkmate.’”

Andrew C. Abbott #thelovestate

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Hillary Clinton would only do Republicans a favor by running

Hillary Clinton is probably running for president. A lot of people say she is definitely running, that there is no question, but since I can’t read palms or cast horoscopes like some in the media apparently can, I will just have to leave it at probably. But since I am also a Republican, I will also leave it at hopefully.

That’s right; Hillary Clinton running would be one of the greatest things that could happen to Republicans in the 2016 elections. That might sound strange, since some seem to think that if she went against a Republican, it would be a like the boxing title holder getting into the ring with some amateur. She has been around a long time, and can do this, the talking point seems to go.
No, she can’t. If she pushes hard for the Democratic Nomination, she will probably get it. There is no young Barak Obama of a freshman senator to ride past her on a wave of hope, change, and “Yes we cans.” But although there may be no Democrat to sideswipe her this time and run her off the road there are plenty of Republicans who are up to it.  
The Republican field is packed full of what the Democrats don’t have: new Barak Obamas. Not that they agree ideologically with him, the reverse couldn’t be truer. But the Republican Party has what the Democrats had then, freshmen senators, young men who are ready to bring change and power and charisma to the field. Rubio and Paul are ready to do to Hillary what Obama did to Hillary, pull out those bases of lesser privileged people and run with them to the finish line. They are a diverse group, (look at Ted Cruz, a Canadian born Cuban American,) and will be able to pull in votes from minorities and lower class working people, all the groups Hillary needs if she is going to win. Groups she lost to Obama in 08’.
The Hopefuls
The very reasons she lost the Democratic Party Nomination then will be the same reasons, in the end, that will bring her down in the general election this time around. She is old news. She has too much baggage. Hillary is only being talked about because there is nobody else. If there were anyone else; and I do mean anyone else, you can be sure she would be heading for the shadows. And when someone is only a last resort, like Romney was in 2012, “the only one with a fighting chance,” they usually don’t have much more than a fight, without a chance.
The Republican Party has been getting ready for eight years to win this election, and have been getting Ready to beat Hillary for more than a decade. The case they have had time to build is enormous, and stretches all the way back to her days in college. She has the same problem as Napoleon was said to have: he fought too many battles, and people figured out what he would do.      
Ever since Hillary entered politics at Bill’s side in the 70s when he was governor of Arkansas, her every move has been categorized and watched, and all of this can only hurt her, at this point, she has nothing new to say. The Democrats keep saying they are ready for Hillary, the ones who should be ready for her are the Republicans, ready to hand her Waterloo.
In 2008 Hillary Clinton tried to defeat Obama and failed, because she was a voice from the past, and he was a voice from the future. It’s been eight years, and she is more of a voice from the past than she was then, and there are plenty of Republicans who are new to the field that are ready to reprise Obama’s job and keep Hillary from the White House.
And that is why the best thing that can happen to the Republican Party in 2016 would be Hillary Clinton winning the Democratic Nomination. Because Hillary Clinton will never be president. As Jack London famously wrote “Youth will be served.”
Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, April 6, 2015

When all you get are empty words

The Chamber
The late Edward M. Kennedy is often known as Ted Kennedy, or, more often still as the younger brother of Jack Kennedy, our 35TH president, and younger brother of Bobby Kennedy, who might have been our 37th president, had he not been tragically killed.

In his (Ted’s) book True Compass, his defining autobiography written almost in his final days of life, Ted Kennedy speaks of his first days in the senate as a freshman senator just barely old enough to hold the seat. And he speaks of another, famous senator whom he himself no doubt admired giving a rousing speech in favor of a bill. This famous senator went on about how everyone should vote for it, how it was imperative that they vote for it., that they must vote for it. He then promptly sat down and himself voted no.
Kennedy was surprised, and asked the senator why he had done this. The senator responded “my state is evenly split on this topic. To those that are for this bill I will send them my speech, to those that oppose it I will send them my vote.”
The most disturbing thing about the story is that it’s not that disturbing. As that now forgotten senator voted on that now forgotten bill he probably thought he was doing himself a favor, he was getting other people’s votes and they thought they were getting a good deal. It’s a thing that is still a problem today, perhaps even more of a problem than it was then. We elect people to go to congress to get things done, not play golf or patty cake. But the gridlock and the problems continue.
Congress is well known for not being well liked, just today, their disapproval rating stands at near 80%, but also, notoriously, while people don’t like congress, they like their congressman, or woman, usually because they are giving them their speech, if not their vote. At election time, and throughout the year while we are watching congress, remember this, why should I give them my vote, if they don’t give me theirs?

Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, April 2, 2015

I'm a Hoosier and I support Mike Pence

"This law does not give anyone a license to deny services to gay and lesbian couples. I could have handled that better this week," Mike Pence
Mike Pence, the governor of my home state of Indiana passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and now the world up in arms. I don’t like the law, (read the text of the law here) and yet I support Mike Pence. That may sound counterintuitive, but it’s true. What Pence was trying to do was, I believe, simply this: be certain that the state government does not infringe on the rights of people, not make it legal for anyone to deny service to minorities, which is why he signed the law.
Of course there was instant backlash, many saying it would allow people to discriminate based on sexual orientation. But let’s take another look, shall we?
I, like Pence, abhor discrimination, he saying so himself many times in recent days. Disagree, fine, I disagree with a lot of people. But discrimination goes against everything that America has been fighting for in the long march from failing to outlaw slavery in the constitution to now. My grandparent’s generation spent too long fighting that battle from the Bridges of Selma to the chambers of Washington to turn back now, and let segregation back in. “Separate but Equal” cannot and must not be resurrected.

If that were what Pence were trying to do, I would support a bid to oust him tomorrow from his office. But it isn’t. He is trying to defend something that is near and dear to the heart of American ideals: the freedom to practice religion in your own way, from Muslims to Christians to Hindus, everyone has the right to worship. This is not giving you the right to deny service to people because you don’t like the cut of their jib, the color of their skin, or the religion of their choice.
The law states that “…a governmental entity may not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability…” So, like, the First Amendment. The last bit is, it seems, (and I’m guessing many critics, and maybe even many supporters have not actually read it) what everyone is up in a lather about. For it could be read to mean that businesses could discriminate. And as Pence said, he could have handled that bit better, as the painfully written law could be interpreted in a lot of ways.
Fortunately, Brian Bosma, the speaker of our Indiana Legislature, (a nice guy, by the way) is going forward with plans to fix this mistake, and I hope he does it quick. In the meantime, the law was well meaning, and an important step, but a misstep, none the less, if it could in any way be read to mean that people can look someone up and down when they walk into their restaurant and say “Nope, can’t come in here.”
But there is something that angry, almost screaming articles from the likes of a paper I respect, the British Guardian, or the shrieking protestors have missed, that the law also protects from another type of discrimination, that of the government against its citizens, especially religious ones. This is basic stuff, which is maybe why it was made the Amendment #1. And that is that people have the right to believe the way they want, and the government cannot force them not to, unless of course they are a danger to the public safety, (the law mentions that). These opponents need to calm down before some of them explode.
Of course, some people might think that this freedom of religion gives them the right to discriminate about who they serve, which it doesn’t. And if they feel so strongly about it, they should get into another business. This is about keeping the government off the citizens. Pence must and probably will make that very clear in the coming days with news legislation, protecting the liberty of all citizens, to believe the way they want, and be served where they want, no matter what.

Andrew C. Abbott