Tag: President Obama

COMITY AND OTHER LESSONS FROM LINCOLN

(POLITICS, NOT RUNNING)

Lincoln st Cooper Union, May 1860
Lincoln at Cooper Union 1860

The heat and passion of political discourse is but a measure of the times, not their cause. And so in this particularly rancorous presidential campaign of 2016, where heat and passion has been felt from both political parties, what we are witnessing is an unsettled electorate wrestling toward an uncertain future.

With a large number of combative issues already facing the country, one more unexpected fissure opened in the crust of our political landscape recently with the sudden passing of associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

In Justice Scalia we had one of the most vocal justices of any era, and perhaps the most politically polarizing of his own. Considered a strict constitutional originalist, Justice Scalia was well known and highly regarded for his sharp-elbowed questioning and scathing dissents.

Today, President Obama nominated chief  D. C. appellate court judge Merrick Garland to fill the Scalia vacancy. Though Judge Garland is universally well-liked and has a moderate judicial record, in today’s hothouse political climate no nominee proffered by Obama can stand before the negating Republican-led Senate and expect a hearing much less an up-or-down vote for confirmation.  (more…)

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THE LINE

11TrackThe lines in racing are evident and precise. At tomorrow’s Diamond League Adidas Grand Prix in New York City lines will define the arc of competition while designating starts and finishes.  If only life could be so simply striped.

Events around the globe have been effected by the bombings at the Boston Marathon this past April 15th.  And there is little doubt that these next ten months will be daunting for the Boston Athletic Association as they determine where to draw their own lines for Patriot’s Day 2014.

Yesterday, May 23rd, in his War on Terror policy re-set speech at the National Defense University in Virginia, President Obama brought up Boston as he enunciated the qualities which define America and which require, in his words, “efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate.” (Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists) (more…)

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

    As the Arizona and Michigan presidential primaries arrive, the final four Republican candidates continue their slash-and-burn tactics as they vie to take on President Obama in the fall. With former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum rising as the dominant conservative alternative to ex-Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, there is a growing angst within the corridors of Republican power that the current crop of candidates may be sealing the eventual nominee’s fate by the negative onslaught they have waged against one another in the endless debates process. As such, the hope for a white knight to come riding to the rescue before the political landscape resembles Mad Max territory has surfaced more fervently than ever.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush has categorically declared that he has no intention of offering his services if the convention in Tampa becomes either brokered or disputed. He’s not even sure he’d be considered a Republican anymore, so far has the party drifted to the right.  And ex-Arkansas governor and 2008 presidential contender Mike Huckabee recently lamented to Israeli TV that the toxic atmosphere of this year’s nomination process has soured any desire he might have had to consider stepping into the white knight’s role, as well.

The one name, however, that looms largest in Repub circles as the party’s potential savior is New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who was the selection of 32% of the party faithful in a recent Quinnipiac poll asking who would be the best alternative to the current lineup of Romney, Santorum, Gingrich or Paul in a brokered convention. `08 Veep candidate Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor, tied for second choice at 20% with Jeb Bush.

But despite Governor Christie’s evident charisma and charm – and likability across party lines – what is equaly evident is his sheer bulk. The elephant in the room is the elephant that Christie has allowed himself to become. At what must be 300 pounds-plus, Governor Christie is morbidly obese. And since the USA is already seen on the world stage as an indulgent, overly consumptive nation, how exactly would a Christie nomination – whether for the top spot or as a possible Romney VP choice – look? After all, what is the job of the vice-president except to be ready in case the president is incapacitated? His number one job is to be ready and fit for office. Mr. Christie isn’t fit enough to walk up the stairs to the east portico. (more…)