Sunday, January 25, 2009

Obama's Ethics Rule Waiver; Hypocrisy or "Big Picture" Move?

Two days after implementing sweeping new ethics rules President Obama has decided to waive a provision regarding former lobbyist to bring Mr. William Lynn into the Administration to fill the position of Deputy Secretary of Defense. This move attracted immediate criticism from people on both sides of the aisle. The Administration's reasoning was clear and concise:

"Because Mr. Lynn came so highly recommended from experts across the political spectrum, the president-elect felt it was critical that he fill this position," said Obama Transition spokesman Tommy Vietor.

“After consultation with counsel to the president," said Director of the Office of Management of Budget Peter Orszag in a statement, "I hereby waive the requirements of Paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Ethics Pledge of Mr. William Lynn. I have determined that it is in the public interest to grant the waiver given Mr. Lynn's qualifications for his position and the current national security situation"

Though appearing to be worthy of the criticism it has received, I would argue that it is a classic Obama move and reflects his focus on the big picture. The two highlighted portions of the statement: "it is in the public interest" and "and the current national security situation"
are indicative of the results oriented thinking process President Obama has continually demonstrated. He created a new set of ethics rules to accomplish his Presidential mission. A critical part of the mission is to keep the American people safe and he believes that appointing Mr. Lynn in this position is the most effective move he can make to accomplish this goal. Therefore he must make a decision as to which is more important, the rule or the goal. It would be imprudent to appoint a lesser qualified person to the position of Deputy Secretary of the Department of Defense, possibly making the unit less effective,just to keep from breaking a non-binding ethics rule, not a law... but a rule. When considering that this position is critical to the safety of our nation, what reasonable person could argue that the rule is more important.

The rule is part of a process which is designed to accomplish a mission, in this case national Security. President Obama is clearly a man who believes in rules and order, but being a results oriented thinker I doubt that he would ever hesitate to waive a rule if it would compromise the success of the mission.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rush Limbaugh, the Voice of Treason


"My hope, and please understand me when I say this. I disagree fervently with the people on our side of the aisle who have caved and who say, 'Well, I hope he succeeds. We've got to give him a chance.' Why? They didn't give Bush a chance in 2000. Before he was inaugurated, the search-and-destroy mission had begun. I'm not talking about search-and-destroy, but I've been listening to Barack Obama for a year-and-a-half. I know what his politics are. I know what his plans are, as he has stated them. I don't want them to succeed.
"If I wanted Obama to succeed, I'd be happy the Republicans have laid down. And I would be encouraging Republicans to lay down and support him. Look, what he's talking about is the absorption of as much of the private sector by the U.S. government as possible, from the banking business, to the mortgage industry, the automobile business, to health care. I do not want the government in charge of all of these things. I don't want this to work. So I'm thinking of replying to the guy, 'Okay, I'll send you a response, but I don't need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails.' (interruption) What are you laughing at? See, here's the point. Everybody thinks it's outrageous to say. Look, even my staff, 'Oh, you can't do that.' Why not? Why is it any different, what's new, what is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what's gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it? I don't care what the drive-by story is. I would be honored if the drive-by media headlined me all day long: 'Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.' Somebody's gotta say it."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Obama and the Lincoln Legacy

It is quite clear, even to the casual observer, that President Elect Obama has employed the legacy of Abraham Lincoln as a theme for his Presidential campaign. He announced his candidacy in Lincoln's adopted home of Springfield Illinois and spoke of Lincoln's political and social philosophies repeatedly in his speeches. He will be travelling to Washington by train just as Lincoln did and stopping for a speech in Philadelphia, again mirroring Lincoln's pre-inaugural activities. The closing symbolic act of his campaign will be to get sworn in on the same bible used by Abraham Lincoln in 1860.

The Republican Party has laid claim to the Lincoln legacy for years by touting themselves as the "Party of Lincoln," which seems rather far fetched considering the fact that President Lincoln was ideologically a center left politician. When he was elected, Lincoln represented a loose coalition of former Whigs, anti-slavery Democrats, abolitionists, and a nativist anti- immigrant group called the "Know Nothing" party. This group collectively branded themselves the Republican party as they came together over a period of several years prior to his election. Any unbiased review of Lincoln's policies clearly reveals that he was left of center and in no way ideologically aligned with the Republican Party of today.

President elect Obama's campaign has emphasized the similarities between his political philosophy and Abraham Lincoln's. He often echoes Lincoln's emphasis on national unity by referring to the United States specifically as the Union, which also serves to remind modern day pro-confederates who won the war and that the South "won't rise again." He is openly reclaiming the Legacy of the Lincoln Presidency from the Republican Party by demonstrating his ideological alignment with Honest Abe. Invoking Lincoln's legacy while proposing left of center populist policies will leave the Republican Party in the position of voicing their support of President Obama whenever they attempt to make gains using Lincoln's Party affiliation. I suspect it will be quite rare to hear members of the GOP promoting themselves as the "Party of Lincoln" over the next four to eight years.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

56, 57, Roland Burris....

I am pleased to see that the Senate Majority Leader finally wised up and remembered how to count. Post-Bush America will be a financial wasteland unless dramatic measures are taken by Congress and the incoming President. As expected, the Southern Republicans have suddenly become budget conscious and are subtly indicating their intent to try and scuttle the Obama Adminstration's stimulus package. Whether he was nominated by Rod Blagojevich or Rod Serling, the Senate may need Roland Burris's vote to stop a filibuster and possibly save the nation from a deep prolonged recession or worse.

I'll admit that it's possible the Republicans will find a way to capitolize on the Burris situation in the long run, but trust me, they'll capitolize a whole lot more on a depression. Right now, the short run is too ugly for any of us to be concerned with the next election cycle. It is being reported that President Elect Obama has indicated to Senate Democrats that he wants the Burris seating to happen and happen fast. Not so coincidentally, he has also indicated that he wants the stimulus package to happen and happen fast.

Forget the Blagojevich controversy for now, the Illinoisians will deal with that as is their responsiblity. Currently, Harry Reid and company must remember that desperate times call for desperate measures so whomever ol' Blago sends them with a (D) behind his name needs to get seated.