Monday, June 29, 2015

Rainbow Rising

All across our nation, in one week which began with gunfire in South Carolina and ended with Gay Pride celebrations from San Francisco to the White House, the Confederate Flags are falling and the rainbow ones are rising.
The Republican Party, the American conservatives, and established church doctrine in our nation all took a brutal beating at the same time, and indeed, it might be said that after a quarter century of fighting, now with gay marriage legal in all fifty states, Obamacare being upheld a second time as constitutional, and the Confederate Flag and indeed the Confederacy itself now no longer being looked upon at least with indulgence as the “Lost Cause” but rather the “Bad Cause” ultra-conservative America has lost their war with the liberals.
The responses from conservatives across the nation vary widely. Some have thrown up the white flag and laid down their arms. Others have ran and hidden in their closets, heads between their legs. And still others, reminiscent of soldiers who believe their cause is just and refuse to surrender their ground, have stuck to their guns, even though they know it will end in their own oblivion.
The reasons the conservatives lost are many and varied, and for many decades historians will debate about why it happened. But I believe it was a fatal of flaw, not of strategy, but in the lack of having one. For years conservatives were the majority in this country, and like most majorities, they were complacent.
Unlike the Gay Pride groups and the far left liberals, conservatives had no plan other than to keep on believing what they believed. The liberals however, had a plan on how to make what they believed into law.
At first it was almost laughable, a little army of leftists against the big and bad conservatives, the GOP, the churches, even mainstream authors, magazines, and pundits. But it was a fight of numbers vs. people who had a plan. And the ones with the numbers, reminiscent of when the Babylonians fought Alexander the Great and were outflanked and routed.
It’s been coming for a long the time, and anybody who could cast their eyes to the horizon could have seen the clouds gathering above the Right side of America, and the rainbows rising in the sky. But there was denial among the conservatives, and then there was despair, and now they are surrendering.
Across our country, in just a few years, and quicker than perhaps anyone could have predicted, the national pendulum has swung out of the right’s grasp and at least tentatively, if not yet firmly, into the hands of the left.
For conservatives, they have few options now, but they do have some. The Iron Chancellor, the one who once nearly united all of Germany under his power once said that a generation that takes a blow is followed by a generation that gives one. One of the conservative options is to start again from the beginning, until they can again land a blow.
While the far right establishment has been thrown back on its heels, and while they have lost this war, they can always starts another, or if they don’t, someone on the left almost certainly will, and the conservatives will be sure to respond
And also, don’t expect the pockets of resistance to go quietly. The Ted Cruzes and Franklin Grahms aren’t dead, and they won’t stop kicking for a quite a while. While the new generation of conservatives will most likely be wary of fighting battles their fathers lost, they will have other things to do. And when they mount their battlements to fight, they had better be sure they have a better strategy and better arguments than the last generation, or their cities will fall as well.
For a while yet, we might not feel the full magnitude of the earthquake that just shook all of us. Indeed, a conservative might actually win the White House in 2016. That might sound preposterous to some, seeing as how the conservatives can't win on Twitter or in the Supreme Court these days, but there is still a Christian South, smaller than it used to be, but still there. And there are still conservatives strewn all throughout the nation, and they are mad, they are really mad.
One is reminded of President LBJ’s words right after his party, with much hard work and years of fighting, passed the Civil Rights Act. He said that the Democrats may have won, but they had cost themselves the South, and by extension almost virtually denied themselves the White House, for a generation. Obama, the Supreme Court, and the fall of the Southern Flag, may have just conspired to cost them it for still another one.
But that’s all speculation, and still in the future. For now, the referee has counted to ten; the time has run out on the clock. And the conservatives have lost.
Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bobby Jindal: Don't Even Bother

Bobby Jindal

In Physics there is a basic principle known as the Pauli Exclusion Principle, named after physicist Wolfgang Pauli who invented it. It states that no two bodies can inhabit the same space at the same time. It is the political version of that same rule (which can be much less ridged) which will nonetheless likely be the death knell of Bobby Jindal’s hopes for the Republican Nomination.
He announced yesterday, however, that he is indeed running for the GOP Nomination, while he was in Baltimore.
Louisiana’s current 44 year old Governor, Jindal, an American born son of Indian immigrants who is a former Hindu, although he converted to Catholicism in his teen years, has plenty of problems. Although I see him as an engaging and humorous speaker, (he likes to joke that as an Indian-American, he can’t laugh at himself as that would be racist) many have feel that he often comes across as restrained, or stressing too hard.
This, and the fact that his state of Louisiana, of which he is two time governor, is not exactly doing the best, have conspired together, along with other factors to bring Jindal, a former congressman, where he was elected at the age of 32, down to dead last in the nomination race, running in fifteenth place, at 1%.
Jindal has no base, and the reasons are pretty obvious.
Jindal’s problem is that he has no group of voters which are his. He has been squeezed out of every spot that he would like to fill, because somebody else is already there. There are plenty of conservatives in the race, so the fact that Jindal is far right won’t help him. The young brand is already filled by Cruz, Paul, and Rubio. The ethnic slot is filled by Carson, Rubio, and Cruz, and the Catholic opening is filled by Jeb Bush, Rubio, etc. etc.
Jindal might last a while, but probably not too long. And it’s almost unconceivable that he could ever pull out a win. The reason is the field is simply way too overcrowded, but even were it not, Jindal lacks the charisma of some of the more popular candidates, as well as their credentials.
At another time, in a parallel universe, Jindal might have won. But we are talking about this universe, in this time. And not only do I see no possibility of Bobby Jindal winning the presidency of the United States, I don’t really understand why he’s running.
Andrew C. Abbott

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Playing the Red Team with Ted Cruz

Atlanta, GA- Texas Senator Ted Cruz has many problems.
Ted Cruz is not near the front of the large 2016 presidential field of the GOP. Ted Cruz is not raising as much money as the likes of Jeb Bush. Tec Cruz does not have the stunning popularity among young people that Rand Paul has, he does not even have the Latino support that the only other Latino in the race besides himself, Marco Rubio, seems to be gathering. Ted Cruz is looked upon by many as divisive, and he isn’t winning any polls.
But perhaps Cruz’s main problem is that he is viewed by many as divisive. Not only are people not backing him, they are actually opposing him. claims 74% of Americans would not vote for Cruz.  On this morning, Cruz is running in seventh, behind Ben Carson and Scott Walker, a governor who hasn’t even announced he is running.
The only people Cruz is doing better than are the likes of Donald Trump, (mercifully) and Rick Perry, the gaffe loaded governor of Texas who only began his campaign recently. Below him also is Carly Fiorina, who may not even make it some of the debates, and Bobby Jindal, who hasn't even announced. Cruz is the last wrung on the serious candidate ladder at the moment.
But there may be some hope for Cruz in the fact that some opponents will definitely drop out before this is over, and he strikes me as the kind of guy who won’t do that.
By the numbers, while Cruz is down he is definitely not out. He will make it easily to the FOX and CNN debates, although he’s not likely to be in the center of the stage.
The one thing that may help Cruz is the very fact that he is down now. People love to hate the front runner. Look at the 2011-12 primary run. First Perry was up, and then Gingrich, even Rick Santorum and Herman Cain had surges. But for all that Mitt Romney stayed beneath the radar, rising slowly, not the frontrunner, so nobody was loading it on him. And by the time he became the definite frontrunner, there was nobody left to load it on.
But you can only do that if, like Romney, you know how to not open your mouth and stick your feet in it, (at least not too often), and you are able to build a wide-ranging coalition within the party. That sort of thing seems to be lacking.
So, suggestions for Ted Cruz: don’t make it all or nothing right now, and try to appeal to the Latino vote. And above all keep your mouth closed. Nothing could hurt you later like saying something stupid now. If all else fails, just go back to the senate, and behave yourself. Your time may come again.
Andrew C. Abbott

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Please Don't Laugh, It's Donald


Atlanta, GA – Donald Trump recently said “I am running for president!” And, predictably, everybody is smirking. We shouldn’t be.
A couple of years ago, at a Christian Summer Camp in Wisconsin, a group of us were sitting round at night talking about a strange subject somebody had brought up: Who is the most annoying and laughable American National Figure?
Although I gave my vote to Alex Jones, and somebody said Rush Limbaugh, (I disagreed strongly) the overwhelming consensus was that the person who took the prize by a long shot was Donald Trump. Only one girl in a far corner of the room backed up Trump.
I must confess I never thought he would run. And I always hoped he wouldn’t. Politics is a serious business, and the guy who ran Celebrity Apprentice, has hair that has become a national joke, and has a famous ego taller than the Statue of Liberty really isn’t the sort of person you want joining an already overcrowded Republican Field.
But while it is true, Trump has no chance of winning outside of something more unforeseen happening than an attack from Godzilla on Atlanta, don’t laugh. Really, don’t laugh. Trump won’t win, but he could do a whole lot of damage.
Donald Trump is the kind of guy the media loves to cover. He’s has a massive mouth, and when he opens it, headlines are created. And he doesn’t need anybody’s money, so he doesn’t care what anybody else says. So while a nomination race should be a serious and rational thing, (although they often aren’t) The Donald could make things even worse than usual by opening his big mouth, putting both his feet and hands into it, and causing even more turmoil among the already disturbed GOP.
And then there is that little matter of independent or left leaning voters. The Grand Old Party need em’, they won’t get em’ if Trump makes our whole party look dumb, or if he just turns off everyone by screaming nonsense.
And one last thing. If Trump does well in the primary which he won’t win, he just might find he enjoys his favorite pastime of self-promotion so much that he runs on a third party ticket.
Someone with Donald’s ego and Trump’s power is not the sort of person we should make fun of too much. Its’ easy, and yes, I know it’s fun. There is already an internet meme out with an image of him, saying “We shall overcomb.” But we should avoid laughing at him like we avoid chocolate. It’s good for our taste buds, but not our waist lines. And if we do have to eat, (and sometimes we do) we should eat it in a back room, not our in public. Because if Trump’s ego is hurt, if he finally realizes what most people think of him, then he might just run on a third party ticket.
Anybody remember the last time a billionaire did that? Ross Perot? He cost George Bush the Presidency, and the Republicans the White House, in 1992. And while Trump, who is currently at about 5% support, does not have enough dedicated supporters to give him the oval office, (although, tellingly, he has enough to make it into the FOX Debates) there just might be enough people in far corners of rooms all across America to help Trump to enough votes that he cuts the GOP’s tenuous numbers down so far they don’t win.
So please don’t laugh, its Donald, and he just rocked our world.

Andrew C. Abbott

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Weak Candidates Getting Weaker

Last week, without massive fanfare, something happened in Ames Iowa. It wasn’t a gigantic political rally. It wasn’t a huge speech given by some candidate. Rather, it was simply a scheduling change. In Ames, Iowa, at the age of thirty-six, the Iowa Straw Poll died.
On the surface it seems like it was bound to happen. The Ames Iowa Straw Poll never was a good indicator. The sample wasn’t random, and in fact many of the people who voted were actually paid by the candidate’s campaigns. But it did make headlines. And besides that, it was one of the few great friends that weak candidates had.
In 2011, former congresswoman Michelle Bachman won the straw poll.  Of course, Bachman, always a weak candidate, eventually dropped out. But many credited the fact that she won the straw poll as keeping her alive so long.
The Straw Poll was always less of a chance to prove oneself the front runner, and more of a chance to show donors and people who might potentially want to volunteer to help your campaign that you were actually a viable candidate.
Now, that chance is gone, and it will hurt the likes of Donald Trump, who, with plenty of money to buys votes and no obvious need for donors, could conceivably have done well.
The second place for a candidate without much support to do well is the debates. In 2011-12, they helped kill Rick Perry, give Rick Santorum such a spot light he is running again, and even make long shot candidate Herman Cain a nationally known figure.
Now however, with FOX’s new debate platform, only the top 10 people in the polls will be on the platform. CNN will be having something similar, and it is possible that eventually others who are holding debates could follow suit.
Of course, it’s perfectly logical. We don’t need twenty people on the platform. In 2011, candidates complained, (Bachman among them) that they didn’t get enough time to talk. Double that amount of candidates, and the results would be chaos.
But the fact still stands. In a field already hard for any candidate, let alone a long shot one, because of the sheer size of the Republican field, to break free. And now, it’s going to be even harder.
But in the end that will be a good thing. If you can’t run a campaign, you sure can’t run a country. And if the people don’t really want you, you have no business being President anyway.

Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, June 15, 2015

Jeb Bush: Recapture the Glory


Three Time luck is something that is hard to come by. Just ask all the horses that have lost their bid for a triple Crown on the race track at Belmont between Affirmed almost 40 years ago, and America's favorite, American Pharoah, who finally did it. But as hard as a threepeat in on the race  track, in politics, and in running for president, it has never before happened three members of the same immediate family won the presidency of the United States.

But who ever called the Bush family normal? Or a family that couldn't beat the odds? Well, Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, thinks be can be the first one to do it. Moments ago he announced he's actually doing it-he's running for president.

The original idea of Jeb's non campaign, (he has really been running for a while now, and his announcement today surprised absolutely no one) was to scare everyone away. And nobody ran and hid under their political beds. In fact, since Bush first started toying with the idea of running. In fact, Jeb's "scare them so bad they don't even try" has worked so well we now have historically loaded field of candidates. Jeb is only the eleventh one to announce, and tomorrow Donald Trump will make an announcement of some king as Trump Tower.

Besides his name, which apparently is not scaring away candidates, but is helping Jeb raise money and keep from getting elbowed to the bottom of the pack, Bush's other thing he seems to be relying on his is stability, (in contrast to the likes of Donald Trump,) his seriousness as a candidate, (no one truly believes George Pataki will last very long) and his outreach towards Latino voters, a group which many Republicans have had a hard time getting. Bush's announcement speech itself was held at Miami Dade College, which claims to be the most diverse in the nation, it also has the largest Hispanic student body in America.

Bush however, will have difficulty in gaining the support of the far right of the Republican Party. While in a general election that will not hurt him too badly, the Republicans always end of voting for the candidate, in the GOP Primary, because those that turn out for that are historically more likely to be white, better off economically, and more conservative, and that is just the base that could kill Bush in the run for the wire.

Bush was expected to be the favorite of the elite. And yet in-the-know political bloggers like Nate Cohn say that not only is Bush falling short of the massive amounts of money from former Bush donors that he and everyone else expected, but even the staffers of the two Georges are not running to him. And to top all of that off, outside of his home state, Bush has received no endorsements. Not a single one. And even their support is mixed. Marco Rubio, the senator from Florida and who is considered Jeb's prodigy, is not only not supporting Bush, he's actually running against him.

And beyond all of that bad news, it just keeps getting worse. On the campaign trail last month Jeb was asked a simple question about Iraq. And it took a week to answer it, in the meantime, he had lots of different answers he gave. Early on, Jeb was concerned about distinguishing himself from his father and brother, (neither was at the announcement speech) but one pundit joked that Jeb finally had-when his brother said something, he stuck to it. Jeb didn't.

Editorially, I do not believe Jeb Bush is a great choice for the Republican Party. He has been hypocritical in his attacks on Hillary Clinton, bashing her on money laws, and then avoiding campaign finance laws himself.

The simple and painful truth about Jeb is that he is a man who has not been in office for over a decade, he is the former governor of Florida for two terms. If his last name were not Bush, we never would have heard of him, and he wouldn't be running for president. And no horse has ever won a race based on his name. Just ask that horse Recapture the Glory. Trying to do for his owners what Bush is trying now to do for his family. And the horse did run in the Kentucky Derby, and lost...badly.

Andrew C. Abbott

Friday, June 12, 2015

The American Rage Machine

Atlanta, GA - It used to be when someone got mad about something they heard in the news, they would blurt out their throughly uninformed opinions at the screen, or maybe anyone else who was around and would listen.

We don’t know what is going on. Even in depth reading of the news normally takes a long time to give us a comprehensive understanding the facts of a situation,  and even longer for us to have an informed opinion on it. But of course, waiting till you actually know what on earth is going on before you spout out about it has fallen out of practice with the advent of the greatest misinformer in history since the disappearance of the oracle of Delphi-the internet. And more specifically, the American Rage Machine…Twitter.
Who knew that a venue which only allows 140 characters could lead to misinformation? Twitter is so full of hate, that even the president of the United States has been publicly advised to “get cancer” on there.
That guy that used to be in front of the screen screaming his head off is now on Twitter, with all of that uninformed rage, screaming all sorts of things. Of course, it’s not just Twitter, the entire internet, while an amazing tool, is full of this stuff. But Twitter above all, with its small amount of space, which in itself basically precludes sound, reason arguments, seems to be the place where all of the angry, enraged people whose favorite character died on a show last week or their favorite congressman just did something they didn’t like go to scream at the top of their lungs.
People are told to die on Twitter, and so many curse words are used in arguments I can’t even show screen grabs here. Comedian Bill Maher was told to “die in a fire,” Miss America has been called a member of ISIS, and an Arab, (she's from India) Jonah Hill was told to kill himself, “you unfunny fat piece of trash…die, die, die” Seriously people? What pills must people take to get so angry?

Maybe they think it makes them big and strong to scream out obscenities out powerful people behind an often fake name. Like someone who wears a mask and runs around town lighting fires. I doubt most of these people would ever say the things they say on the internet to someone in person. I guess that's a good thing.

Nobody is going to be connived by these arguments. You probably already knew that. People don't change their opinion because someone uses a racial slur against them or scream, (it happens all the time) "you disgusting idiot, Liberal, go kill yourself!"
Of course, not everyone on Twitter is bad, and there are certainly some who do their level best to be reasoned and informed, but when you don’t even have to use your own name, and when your screaming rant carries just as much weight as anybody else’s screaming rant, well, it becomes all too easy to lose your mind.
People often say that American’s should get a government that is as good as them. If that were true, the government of the average American Twitter user would not look like our often boring but highly dignified senate, it would look like this:

Political argument is important, and so is free speech. But you shouldn’t use it to scream stupid on a crowded internet. And Twitter isn’t, by definition, a place where serious political argument should be done at all, unless you’re willing to send about a thousand tweets in a row.
The Rage Machine is huge, and it crucifies people constantly with a steady stream of misinformation and confusion. Last year, comedian Steven Colbert almost lost his show when the hash tag #cancelColbert began trending because of a false rumor about him that started on Twitter.  Baseball used to be our National Pastime. I think now our National Pastime is rage. We should just stop. After all, tweeting is for the birds.

Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, June 8, 2015

Let's not be racist: Obama, Call it a Genocide

Pro-Armenian Protestors in Los Angeles

Atlanta, GA - Some call it the “Great Crime.” Others call it the Armenian Massacre, or the Armenian Holocaust. But by any name, they are all talking about the same thing. An act that began on April 24th, 1915, 100 years ago. But time has not removed its horror.
It was the Turks who did it, of course. Everyone knows that. Some estimate around 800,000 innocent men, women, and children died. But that is a low number. Some estimates put it at twice that.
It began when the Ottoman Turks demanded of the city of Van that they furnish several thousand able bodied young men as conscripts to fight. But it was obvious to everyone that the Turks were not looking for soldiers, they were looking for victims. When the young men lined up to fight, they would be killed, leaving the Armenian town without defenders.
When they refused, the Turks attacked, and began banishing Armenians from their own country, promising to exterminate them. The Muslim Turks and the Christian Armenians had been at odds with each other for many years, and now, in the heat of World War I, with the world in flames, it was as good a time as any for old scores to come to light.
The Turks were determined to add their names, it seemed, to the list of the world’s Great War criminals, and so began their killing spree. They started death marches, marching hundreds of thousands of people out into the deserts without any type of supplies of food and water. Of course, the Armenians began to die by the thousands. To the death marches were added concentration camps, where people starved to death, trying to eat horse droppings.
So many children were drowned, that according to some
eyewitnesses, their bodies changed the courses of rivers.

People later claimed some graves held up to 60,000 victims. When starvation didn’t come fast enough, the innocent Armenians were burned to death. Of course, their only crime was where they were born. Sometimes, children were taken in boats out into the water and thrown overboard, drowning them.
But today, despite the fact that all of the above is well documented, it is established practice by our government not to call what happened to the Armenians genocide. On the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Genocide earlier this year, the White House released a statement, avoiding the term “Genocide.”
The prevailing belief is that this is because Turkey is one our many allies, and so not to offend the Turks of today, we should not call it Genocide. Of course, that is racism. Do we really think that the Turks are so thin skinned that calling what Turks a 100 years ago did Genocide would offend them?
We are allies with the Germans, but we have no problem calling what they did only 70 years ago Genocide, and a Holocaust, and they seem to have enough self-control not to throw pity parties about it.
The President needs to call the Armenian Genocide what it is, and he needs to do so as soon as possible. To not do so is racist, towards the Armenians, but especially towards the Turks.
Andrew C. Abbott

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Why do the losers have all the good generals?

Montgomery, AL -  It is often stated in academia that the winners write the history. Perhaps that is true. The history of the world is something we see from the standpoint not of the Egyptians in Exodus, but of the Jews. Not of the barbarians from the north, but from the Romans. Not from the Trojans, but from the ones who built the great horse, the Spartans.
But while all that is true, and while it is true that after you lose a war you suddenly become the most evil people in history while those who beat you are the righteous ones; and who were wrongly attacked, it is also true that we all love a good loser, especially if that good loser is a general.
A look at the great pantheon of generals throughout history shows that many of the greatly loved were, in the end, losers. For instance Hannibal, leader of the Carthaginians against the Romans in the Punic wars, (I like him so much I named my dog after him), but for all the adoration he has received from historians throughout the years, he committed suicide, his nation gone, before the Romans could capture him.
Rommel, the German tank commander, so lauded by the likes of strategist Basil Liddell Hart, but who also committed suicide as the “Thousand Year Reich” of Adolf Hitler crashed around him.
We could come to our own generals. In the Civil War there is little argument about who the greatest generals were. Most would without question give that title to Robert E. Lee, or at least let him share that title with Jackson. Yet of the two, one died in a losing cause, and the other would surrender his army, essentially ending the war.
In the siege of Constantinople, when the city finally fell, the now almost completely forgotten general Giovanni Giustiniani was without question one of the best in history, despite the fact that few have ever heard of him. His daring and cunning allowed him to hold off the massive armies of the invaders for a shocking 55 days, until finally a door being left unlocked allowed the Muslim invaders into the city. But again, the man, Giovanni Giustiniani, who was by far the better general, was on the losing side.
I don’t know why it is so, that almost all of the great generals are on losing sides. Of course there were some winners who were great, like Julius Caesar, yet he is most known for the tragic elements surrounding his assassination. So he’s loved, but a bit of a loser, since he did die that day in the senate.
Perhaps the reason that great leaders are given by God to the losers is that they are men born out of desperation, who find themselves up against impossible odds, and know they have to be near perfect to win. Or perhaps they are not the best, but we just ignore the great generals on a winning side because once you win, your victory takes on an aura of inevitability that it never had while the fight was actually taking place. And so your talents are lost on us.
Whatever the reason, it still seems that the losers have all the great generals. Just ask Napoleon.

Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Rick Perry: If at first you don't succeed

Atlanta, GA- When a party starts, the host is able to gush over the first person that arrives. If they are a particularly excitable and energetic host, they just might gush over the first few. But at some point, the ability to gush simply ends, and we get to the phase of just waving hi to Joe as he walks in. I don’t know when it happened, but the Republican Party of candidates for 2016 has become so crowded that we’ve gone beyond even having the energy to wave as a new candidate hits the door.

We already have lots of far right wing conservatives running. We already have former governors running, and we even already have a Texan running. But that’s not stopping Rick Perry, Texas’ longest serving governor, the man who was the follow up act to George Bush Jr., and the man who managed the state into a fortress of conservative political ideals of God, Gravy, and Guns, from announcing that he will be running a second time for the presidency.
Rick Perry, at least to me, comes across as a likeable guy, and being a Texan, he always tried to make himself out as a rough-and-ready sort of character. But he also had a tendency on the campaign trail three years ago to open his mouth a lot, and stuff his foot down his gullet.
However, for all of this I don’t see Perry as one of the ones without a chance. He managed to lead Texas into remarkable economic growth. During his watch, the state added roughly 1,800,000 jobs. He managed to fill nearly every position in Texas with someone loyal to him, he managed to actually pass conservative legislation, he managed to even get his chosen successor elected.
There is a cloud of a political indictment hanging over Perry of two felony charges, however, an in indictment is not a conviction, and many have called the indictment politically motivated against the governor because of his far right stances.
What we saw in 2011 was a man who was not comfortable on the debate stages. But supposedly practice makes perfect, add although Perry’s 2011 debate circuit was filled with gaffes and a famous “oops” after he forgot the three Federal Agencies he would cut if elected, perhaps he has grown and gotten better. Maybe not, but certainly Perry’s managers have to know where their candidate is weak, and will be practicing many hours with him so as not to have a repeat of some awkward moments.
But in the long run, surprisingly, all the gaffes just might help Perry. Americans are jaded with polished politicians, and they just might like a down home good old boy from Texas who isn’t afraid to make a mistake or three.

Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, June 1, 2015

Thank you Rand Paul: But there's more work to do

Rand Paul

Politicians are not known for delivering on promises. Jokes about them are constantly made, how they take a stand firmly on both sides of an issue, or how when one of them comes to a fork in the road, he takes it.
But at midnight last night, Eastern Time, as the moon rose over Washington DC, the sun set on one of the most abusive attacks on human rights in American history. The US PATRIOT Act died a peaceful death, swallowing its last breaths as a group of politicians laid pressure on its windpipe, being certain it would not rise in the morning.
Hurrah! We won. At last, a cause taken up by the liberal British Newspaper The Guardian was finished by a Republican Conservative. The Republican, Rand Paul, is a member of an almost extinct species, politicians who do the right thing, because it is right, not because it is popular, even if their own leadership doesn’t want them to do what they’re doing.
There is still work to do of course. And Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and a few brave Democrats are going to try to see it through. Marco Rubio, who is running for president, has announced he liked the unconstitutional spying of millions of Americans.
This is and should be a nonpartisan issue. The next battle is now the USA Freedom Act, a watered down version of the PATRIOT Act which is so weak even the NSA and Barak Obama are comfortable with it. We still have to end many programs which are collecting all sorts of data, because Americans, to be free, must have privacy.
But for now, if even for a few hours or days, our calls are private. No one is sitting collecting them en masse somewhere. The president and the NSA, in at least this way, are not breaking the US Constitution. For that we can thank Rand Paul, a man I just a couple of weeks ago wondered about even as a viable candidate for president. He has just proved, in a big way, that he has at least a very good possibility of getting my vote.

Andrew C. Abbott