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Archive for the ‘Opinions’ Category

Good Time For a Brainy President

Nov 27, 2008 Author: VP | Filed under: News, Opinions

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By David S. Broder
Thursday, November 27, 2008; Page A29

When I started covering the White House more than 50 years ago, I believed that the smarter a president was, the better he would be. That was wrong.

Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan were certainly not intellectuals, but they understood the power of the presidency and they knew how to impose their agendas on their political partners and rivals.

By contrast, Jimmy Carter was a whiz at policy analysis and Bill Clinton grasped the connections among issues almost intuitively. Yet neither of them left the White House with a record of great achievements.

So for several years, I have been arguing that there are traits much more important to the success of a president than brainpower. Self-confidence, curiosity, an eye for talent, the ability to communicate, a temperament that invites collaboration — all these and more rank higher on the list of desirable presidential traits.

I am not ready to abandon that view. But I am struck by how lucky this country is, at the moment, that the president-elect is a super-smart person like Barack Obama.

With each passing day, it becomes more evident that even the smartest and most experienced managers of the American economy are struggling to understand — and fix — what has gone wrong in our markets.

I attempt to follow the discussion in newspapers and on Jim Lehrer’s “NewsHour” and other deeply serious television programs about the latest moves by the Federal Reserve Board and the Treasury — and I am stumped. (more…)

Rising Hope For Fixing Health Care

Nov 23, 2008 Author: VP | Filed under: Opinions, Politics

By David S. Broder
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Things are looking up for substantive reform of America’s troubled health-care system.
No one who knows the history of such efforts, from Harry Truman’s administration through Bill Clinton’s, needs to be reminded of the difficulties that inevitably confront any plan to overhaul one-seventh of the U.S. economy and bring high-quality medicine to millions of the uninsured.

But developments at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue last week — and across the country — pointed up both the urgency of the problem and the prospects for seeing significant action.

When Barack Obama’s transition team let out word that former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle would be his choice to run the Department of Health and Human Services and to quarterback his work on health reform, it signaled that Obama is serious about his campaign promise to make that issue a first-term priority.

Daschle would not leave a lucrative job at a law firm to twiddle his thumbs. Only with a clear understanding that the new president will put his own political capital at risk in this cause would the South Dakotan sign up for the job. (more…)

It’s My Party, But I Don’t Feel Part of It

Nov 23, 2008 Author: VP | Filed under: Opinions, Politics

By Sophia A. Nelson
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Election night was a bittersweet night for me. Like most Americans, and especially as an African American, I found it deeply moving to watch President-elect Barack Obama and his family — soon to be our nation’s first African American first family — stride onstage for his victory speech. I welcome the positive role models they’ll present to black families and the American public at large.

But as a black Republican, I was chagrined that the political party I’ve belonged to for 20 years had just suffered a blistering electoral defeat. And that along the way, it had lost 96 percent of the black vote and 67 percent of the Hispanic vote — the worst showing for the Republican Party among minorities in its 150-year history.

After such a devastating loss, Republicans will have to do some retooling. We’ll have to decide whether we want to be the party that believes in smaller government, lower taxes and less regulation, or whether we’re going to be a litmus-test party that responds only to the demands of social conservatives. But most important, we’ll have to confront our most disastrous modern legacy: our poor relationship with black Americans, the very people the party was formed to protect from the expansion of slavery into Kansas and Nebraska in 1854.

That relationship may be lost for generations, thanks to a campaign by Sen. John McCain that seemed to simply concede the black vote. According to one senior aide, McCain had been polling close to 20 percent of the black vote before the primaries ended. But then his “Forgotten America” tour, which started soon after, never seemed to go anywhere. I knew of only one high-level black adviser or spokesperson on his full-time paid campaign staff. The GOP convention was embarrassingly devoid of people of color — among more than 2,000 delegates, only 36 were black. (more…)

By Cynthia Tucker
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For several years, Republicans have waged a brilliant, Machiavellian campaign against the right to vote, persuading Americans that fair elections were under attack from a widespread and pernicious campaign of voter fraud. It’s classic sophistry; there is virtually no fraud by fake voters showing up at the polls.

Nevertheless, the voter-suppression campaign succeeded in state legislatures, where Republicans passed restrictive voter ID laws, and in courtrooms, where judges upheld them. Republicans also won the public relations battle, taking on a veneer of moral authority as they posed as protectors of the ballot.

But Barack Obama’s awesome get-out-the-vote machine overwhelmed the GOP’s cynical tactics, which had depended on shaving off a few hundred or a few thousand votes of poor and elderly Americans who didn’t have driver’s licenses, and who just happened to tend to vote for Democrats. In Obama’s winning campaign, the GOP couldn’t deter enough Democratic voters to make a difference.

Republicans didn’t just lose the presidency and congressional seats around the country. They also lost the veneer of respectability covering their campaign to block the ballot. They panicked as Obama’s poll numbers rose and in their desperation, they began throwing out one tactic after another to try to discourage voters from going to the polls. The alarm they raised was so absurd that it was comical. (more…)

Posted By: latinplaya002
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The startling case of an AIDS patient who underwent a bone marrow transplant to treat leukemia is stirring new hope that gene-therapy strategies on the far edges of AIDS research might someday cure the disease.

The patient, a 42-year-old American living in Berlin, is still recovering from his leukemia therapy, but he appears to have won his battle with AIDS. Doctors have not been able to detect the virus in his blood for more than 600 days, despite his having ceased all conventional AIDS medication. Normally when a patient stops taking AIDS drugs, the virus stampedes through the body within weeks, or days.
“I was very surprised,” said the doctor, Gero Hütter.

The breakthrough appears to be that Dr. Hütter, a soft-spoken hematologist who isn’t an AIDS specialist, deliberately replaced the patient’s bone marrow cells with those from a donor who has a naturally occurring genetic mutation that renders his cells immune to almost all strains of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. (more…)

Darkness at Dusk

Nov 11, 2008 Author: VP | Filed under: News, Opinions

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It’s only been a week since the defeat, but the battle lines have already been drawn in the fight over the future of conservatism.

In one camp, there are the Traditionalists, the people who believe that conservatives have lost elections because they have strayed from the true creed. George W. Bush was a big-government type who betrayed conservatism. John McCain was a Republican moderate, and his defeat discredits the moderate wing.

To regain power, the Traditionalists argue, the G.O.P. should return to its core ideas: Cut government, cut taxes, restrict immigration. Rally behind Sarah Palin.

Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are the most prominent voices in the Traditionalist camp, but there is also the alliance of Old Guard institutions. For example, a group of Traditionalists met in Virginia last weekend to plot strategy, including Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. According to reports, the attendees were pleased that the election wiped out some of the party’s remaining moderates. “There’s a sense that the Republicans on Capitol Hill are freer of wobbly-kneed Republicans than they were before the election,” the writer R. Emmett Tyrrell told a reporter. (more…)

Posted By: ClevelandDawg216

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Grandparents played big part in Obama story

Nov 9, 2008 Author: VP | Filed under: Opinions, Politics

By Cynthia Tucker
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In a heartbreaking twist, Madelyn Dunham — her grandchildren called her “Toot” — died less than 48 hours before her grandson was elected the first black president of the United States. Let’s hope she knew that he would reach the pinnacle of American politics; she had as much to do with the man he became as anyone.

On the campaign trail, Barack Obama often used his Kansas-born grandparents as stand-ins for ordinary Americans who worked hard, loved their country, played by the rules. Yet there was something about Stanley and Madelyn Dunham that was not at all ordinary. For white Americans of their time and place, they showed an extraordinary willingness to set aside the social customs of the day to embrace, to love, even to adore their biracial grandson.

These days, it’s hard to remember how unusual that was. All around us, in big cities and small towns, we see interracial couples and their progeny. I’ve seen plenty of white grandparents holding little kinky-haired dark-skinned toddlers.

But when Obama was born in 1961, that was not only unusual but also frightening in many quarters of an America that still observed a strict color line. The open acceptance of interracial marriage (or even sexual liaisons) didn’t just upset the status quo; it didn’t just represent a staggering blow to convention; it also drove a dagger into centuries-old notions of racial purity. (more…)

The GOP Still Has a Pulse. I Can Feel It.

Nov 6, 2008 Author: VP | Filed under: News, Opinions

By George F. Will
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What Would Goldwater Do?

Graciously conceding as vice president in 1980, Walter Mondale spoke of voters wielding “their staggering power.” This year’s energized electorate did that, thereby proving, among other things, that bad governance is good for turnout, a fact that should give pause to people who think high rates of voting are unambiguous indicators of civic health.

In 2000, George W. Bush won 11 million (29 percent) more votes than Bob Dole won in 1996; in 2004, Bush won 11.6 million (23 percent) more than in 2000. This year the Republican surge receded. It is difficult running against Washington while one’s party controls the presidency. And given that the morning news on Election Day was that car sales and manufacturing activity were at their lowest levels in nearly 20 years in October, the evening news was unsurprising.

Although John McCain’s loss was not as numerically stunning as the 1964 defeat of Barry Goldwater, who won 16 fewer states and 122 fewer electoral votes than McCain seems to have won as of this writing, Tuesday’s trouncing was more dispiriting for conservatives. Goldwater’s loss was constructive; it invigorated his party by reorienting it ideologically. McCain’s loss was sterile, containing no seeds of intellectual rebirth. (more…)

Bring on the Puppy and the Rookie

Nov 6, 2008 Author: VP | Filed under: News, Opinions

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I walked over to the White House Tuesday night and leaned against the fence. How can such a lovely house make so many of its inhabitants nuts?

There was no U-Haul in the driveway. I don’t know if W. was inside talking to the portraits on the wall. Or if the portraits can vanish from their frames, as at Hogwarts Academy, to escape if W. is pestering them about his legacy.

The Obama girls, with their oodles of charm, will soon be moving in with their goldendoodle or some other fetching puppy, and they seem like the kind of kids who could have fun there, prowling around with their history-loving father.

I had been amazed during the campaign — not by the covert racism about Barack Obama and not by Hillary Clinton’s subtext when she insisted to superdelegates: “He can’t win.”

But I had been astonished by the overt willingness of some people who didn’t mind being quoted by name in The New York Times saying vile stuff, that a President Obama would turn the Rose Garden into a watermelon patch, that he’d have barbeques on the front lawn, that he’d make the White House the Black House.

Actually, the elegant and disciplined Obama, who is not descended from the central African-American experience but who has nonetheless embraced it and been embraced by it, has the chance to make the White House pristine again.

I grew up here, and I love all the monuments filled with the capital’s ghosts. I hate the thought that terrorists might target them again. (more…)


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