Tag Archives: conservative

Politics and a Terrorist Victim

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama

As I return from Arlington National Cemetery visiting the gravesite of my brother Cherone Gunn and his shipmates who were killed on board the USS Cole 12 years ago on this date, I reflect on a lot of what has transpired over the course of the past day, week and month. Yes, today a lot of the focus was on the anniversary of the bombing of the USS Cole, but there are others who see a sad opportunity to push their political agenda at the same time. I can’t help but to think how has the memory of my brother and his shipmates been honored among those who wish to use the day as a platform for their gain? Aside from today being the anniversary of the attack, there are other attacks and victims of terror whose memory may be taken advantaged of for political gain. It’s all an ironic tragedy.

The trial of one of the suspects held responsible for the attack on the USS Cole is set to get underway in just over a week. It has been 12 years and this is the first such instance where our country is holding someone responsible to answer to the crime. It would seem that this would be a time where everyone could come together to see justice carried out, but while it may or may not come out with a positive outcome some people already are laying ground work on the how’s and why’s things could go wrong.

There is finger-pointing going, specifically with conservatives who say that our president is soft on terrorism. A direct reference is usually made to what happened last month in Benghazi, Libya where Americans were killed in an attack on the U.S. Embassy there. Some are calling out the president saying he took too long to address the incident as a terrorist attack and that he neglected to do anything to prevent it from happening. This was even brought out in the vice-presidential debate from Thursday evening. True or not, it’s not doing anything to remedy the problem.

We essentially have two problems. The first problem is bad people do bad things. Sometimes they get stopped and sometimes not, but if they are determined enough they will unfortunately find a way. Are you going to want to blame a rape victim for being raped? A shooting victim for getting shot? The other problem is using someone’s death to prove your point and make your statement. On October 13, 2000 the only political statement I wanted to hear was, “we got the sucka” and I really would not have cared who or which side of the aisle it came from. And I doubt the family of Ambassador Chris Stevens and the three other American who were killed are drawing any comfort in knowing if it was a riot response to a movie or a planned terrorist attack or bad foreign policy. Get the guy who did it and figure out who left the gate open later.

Not for nothin’ but let’s not forget the reason why we’re arguing this point. Do not grandstand on my brother’s grave, or anyone else’s. This is not about your politics. I don’t care if you could have done it better than the other guy, or if the other guy has no experience, or if either of you have your facts straight. This is not your time to bicker about that. Today is my time. Today is our time as victims. Not to get hypocritical, but if anyone should make a political point out of it, let it be us. I think we deserved that.

Romney’s Choice

Paul Ryan
Paul Ryan

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has made his choice for his running mate as Vice-President of the United States. United States House Representative Paul Ryan was announced to a crowd in front of the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Virginia. The selection was a clear message for Governor Romney’s focus on our country’s economic future and his goal to unify his support from his own party which is quite insecure at best in some respects. But while his choice further shows his vision and party support, it sends a different message to those across the aisle, who believe that the selection of Ryan is just more of the same.

Paul Ryan is the seven term representative from Wisconsin. At 42 years old, he’s already one of the Republican Party’s leaders and most respected in congress. So what do we know about Paul Ryan? When it comes to fiscal and budget issues, Ryan is the GOP’s go-to guy. Last year, Ryan drafted the republican answer for the economy in the “Path to Prosperity.” As the Republican Party’s budget proposal for our federal government, Ryan’s plan was passed in the Republican controlled House, but naturally struck down by the Democratic controlled Senate. The bill was voted against largely because it included much of the same tax rate reductions for the wealthy and cuts to affect the poor and middle classes that Democrats see typically favor by their Republican counterparts. His plan also included stark changes to the Medicaid system. We also know about Ryan that in the past, the Tea Party favorite has voted for the war in Iraq, Medicaid Part D, and bailouts of both Wall Street and auto industries.

The Obama Campaign has commentated on Ryan’s selection as Romney’s running-mate saying, “Like Mitt Romney, Ryan’s severely conservative positions are out of touch with most American’s values.” To Democrats, this selection is not providing much of a difference from the party’s candidate for president. Usually, vice presidential candidates are chosen to help bring balance to the ticket. Many times we’ll see after the party is split in two during the competitive primary stages, a candidate chooses the one person that opposed his ideologies so much that such move would definitely unify the party. In 2008 Barack Obama was criticized because of his inexperience, in contrast he picked senior Senator Joe Biden. Every Republican man’s dream date, Sarah Palin was chosen by John McCain. She was young, attractive and had some very strong conservative values. Palin had qualities that could have balanced any ticket for any party. In both cases though, we learned that presidential candidates intended to fulfill shortcomings and to reach out to critics, not just in their party, but those votes in the middle that would win them the election.

Not for nothin’ but I can’t say this pick of Paul Ryan by Romney is a winning move. Yeah, it wraps up wavering support in his party, but the move doesn’t seem to reach out to those undecided voters who could go either way. It seems like Paul Ryan is much of the same as Mitt Romney, just a few years younger. These days, there’s an “it” factor or a popularity dynamic to win an election. Paul Ryan is not screaming some feature that the other team doesn’t have. He’s the same white male “Washington insider”, as some would say, that that has dominated politics for years. Mitt Romney did a good job with winning his party over, but made a poor decision in trying to win this election.

Don’t Take What You See Face Value

Map of early voting states
Map of early voting states

 

In the final weekend before the election, presidential candidates, vice-presidential candidates, politicians, celebrities and others on the campaign trail doing everything they can to make their respective campaign successful.  After a number of states opened polls early for early voting, many are closing Sunday and Monday in lieu of Tuesday’s Election Day. 

Over 30 states allow their voters to vote early.  In a few of them you need an excuse to vote early, but in most early voting at polls has seen record numbers.  Over 20 million people have cast their vote before election day.  And we’ve also seen widely reported that most of those cast have been democratic, but don’t get too excited.  While a large share of those cast were by democrats, the voters are only registered democrats, but are still free to vote which ever way they want.  In many cases that wouldn’t be a problem, we can all assume that registered democrats will vote for the democratic candidate and registered republicans will vote for the republican candidate, but assumption can be the base of many mistakes.

As we all know this is quite the historic election that divides the population as any election, but this one has to potential to polarize the American public like none before.  Primarily because of what has been represented from the two campaigns.  Many democratic voters are not voting for Barack Obama for various reasons, still bitter from Hillary loss, don’t feel comfortable with him, or just do not want to vote for an African-American.  That’s similar to republican voters do not want to vote for McCain because they feel he doesn’t represent the party fully, no confidence in his VP candidate, or actually feel he isn’t the best candidate.

And as an added bonus some thought has to be put on the “Southern Democrat” population.  Close to a third of early voting states are southern states.  As many of us know, several years ago the republican party were liberal and the democratic party were more conservative.  With Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal administration came an actual new deal in American political structure.  After the impact his administration had on American politics, the party values essentially switched making republicans more conservative and democrats more liberal as we see it today.  While many politicians since the start of the 1960s began to switch parties to align more with their values, many democratic voters in the south did not get that memo.  That’s why you’d see civil rights leaders in the republican party in the south because they were in direct contrast to Southern Democrats who opposed the civil rights movement.  And that’s why to this day many old school southern democrats, while still registered as democrats, vote conservative and for republican candidates.

Not for nothin’, but these are just two of the reasons why we can be misled by polls.  Unless you see an actual number of how many people are voting for which candidate, we’re not going to know officially who’s in the lead.  No matter how much you think or are told that the Obama campaign is ahead, no pundit, analyst, or strategist has a crystal ball, nor can they see the future. 

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