Marc Platt's Politics: I'm a Lefty

Feb. 6, 2013

As much as I support our president, I am NOT happy with the Drone Program or in their words "Targeted Killings" and/or "Lethal Force." I do not think it is OK to subvert the U.S. Constitution and go after American citizens and kill them without a trial.

I don't need to go into the details about how the program works, but for those who don't know...We send unmanned Drones to a designated area, most likely Pakistan and the plane destroys a desgnated "Target."

It is NOT okay that Drones have killed 178 children and a lot of innocent people surrounding the desgnated targets. 

The other side of the equation is the cost savings of the Drone Program. It costs a lot less in American human lives to send a plane thousands of miles away and gun a target down. We don't have to put those boots on the ground. The administration would argue that if American lives are saved and Al Qa'ida terrorists are taken out, then this is a good thing. I am conflicted about this reasoning.

Paskistan is supposed to be our ally, however they harbored Bin Laden for 10 years and have made this country a safe haven for anti-American terrorists. Obama and his National Security Council would rather use these "Legal, ethical & wise" (according to Jay Carney, Press Secretary) Drone strikes when we are in imminent danger. The administration insists that these strikes are legal.

I cannot make this call. The U.S. Supreme Court will likely b e the one to have the final say.

If you have a problem (like I do) with what President Obama and his administration are doing, you should get on Twitter and call and use the White House website. Let them know.  They really do pay attention.

There is one point I must make. Every other country is likely creating their own Drone Program and we are in danger. The Bush administration started this program and Obama has accelerated it. A Pandora's Box has been opened that cannot be closed.

This is very scary stuff.

Congress is now getting involved and wants to limit Drone strikes. Good luck with that.

Feb. 1, 2013

"His honor is pure and his courage as well,
He's fair and he's true and he's boring as hell!
And he'll go to the grave as an angry old man."
                      Billy Joel "Angry Young Man"

 

John McCain is not only an "Angry Old Man," but on Thursday January 31, 2013 he shouted to the world he is so far away from the mainstream, it is offensive and scary. McCain pressed Secretary of Defense candidate Chuck Hagel on whether the Iraqi surges were the "correct move" or not.

Hagel has been on the record for a long time, saying the Iraq war was wrong, even though he supported the war early on. Once American citizens found out that Saddam Hussein DIDN'T have Weapons of Mass Destruction, or ANYTHING to do with 9/11 he, along with MOST of the congress were aginst the Iraq war.


Hagel has been pretty vocal against the war for years, which has caused a split between him and McCain politically. Hagel once was a co-chair for the McCain 2000 Presidential race against "W." Now McCain YELLS at Hagel in public, as he did during Hagel's Senate Confirmation Hearing. McCain quoted Hagel as saying in 2007 that the surge was the "most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam."

"Were you right?" the Angry Old Man chirped. "Were you correct in your assessment?"

Hagel: "Well, I would defer to the judgment of history to sort that out."

It was ugly. These two former Vietnam Vets were once VERY close friends, now McCain is on the wrong side of recent history and lashing out at Obama's choice to get back at both Hagel and the man (Obama) who resoundly defeated him in 2008 for president.

McCain reminds me of Matthew Harrison Brady character in the play "Inherit The Wind" who keeps berating the non-believers about creationism. The Brady character has a heart attack and dies at the end.

My favorite line from that play is an exchange between Brady and Drummond. I truly believe this applies to McCain and Hagel:

Brady: " I do not think about things I do not think about."
Drummond: "Do you ever think about things that you do think about?"

Unfortunately John McCain seems to have lost his way and does NOT think about things he used to think about. McCain has lost his sense of reason that Iraq WAS THE WRONG WAR. He rarely mentions the war we are in. McCain has had a recent history of digging in and not reasoning at all and his outburst in the confirmation hearing was just another example of his unwillingness to compromise his defective and out-of-the mainstream views. 

America (55% of us) think the Iraq War was wrong to even venture into. McCain has said we should "Have a presence" there for the next 100 years.

The fine people of Arizona keep sending him back to the Senate and he is not changing with the changing times at all. It is time for John McCain to go on to the next phase of his life and let the people send a new representative to the U.S. Senate.

Jan. 31, 2013



The American political landscape is a fast-changing entity that should never be taken for granted. This is not like a teenage girl who knows exactly what the man she will eventually marry is all about, so many years before the fact.

 

Coming out of “Political Mediocrity” helps candidates more than years of public awareness. America loves underachievers. The public loves to learn about the presidential candidates as the process develops. This could explain why John Kerry and John McCain lost their bids for the Oval Office. Of course there are many other factors that are inconceivable in the years leading up to a given election. McCain probably thought it was his turn and he was going to trounce a “nobody,” who also happened to be African American. McCain had been in the U.S. Senate for decades and was a war hero. How could he lose so badly to a man who was barely in the Senate?

Politics in this decade is younger and faster. Decisions are scrutinized by cable news and social media in a quicker manner. The 24-Hour-News-Cycle dominates our political landscape. Having a powerful organization is essential for winning a National Presidential Election. Obama has re-written that book in both 2008 and 2012 by using the U.S. Census numbers to dictate almost down to the county a way to gather the most electoral votes.

I would NOT be too comfortable if I were Hillary Clinton right now. If Mrs. Clinton thinks she is a lock to become No. 45, she should look at history closely.

Just WHO do we elect President and why? Take a look at the past 13 U.S. Presidents for the answers.

Let’s start with FDR (age 50). Who was he when he ran in 1932 and why did the public elect him? The Stock Market Crash and Herbert Hoover’s low numbers certainly helped. FDR served in a number of posts (NY Senate, Assistant Secretary of Navy, NY Governor) and is the last defeated Vice Presidential candidate to go on and become U.S. President. He had credentials, but I will venture to guess that the democratic bosses hand-picked FDR because his cousin Teddy had been president and we were mired in the Great Depression when he ran in 1932. FDR was able to be re-elected 3 times, due to the Great Depression and WW2. He did have a few moments of political bumbling, especially when he tried to pack the Supreme Court after they wouldn’t pass his legislation. FDR was inspirational to the country and savvy enough to survive a lot throughout a very trying time.

Harry Truman (age 61) was hand-picked from the U.S. Senate, after a non-descript career in business and legislature to serve as FDR’s Vice President. The democratic political bosses in 1944 were worried that FDR would not survive his 4th term as President and needed someone they could control. Harry Who? That was probably what most Americans thought when they heard he was NOW their VP. FDR died early in 1945 and Truman immediately made his mark by dropping the first and only atomic bombs on Japan. By 1948 he was losing traction and was an underdog against Thomas Dewey (The Mitt Romney of his time) Truman had the base support and had the best ground game of his day by going around the heartland by train to campaign. He never gave up, much like Obama in 2012. ).  He also fired a very popularWW2 hero during his 2nd term, which foreshadowed who the next U.S. President would be. Goodbye General Douglas Macarthur, hello Ike.

 

Dwight D. (Ike) Eisenhower  (age 62) was a national hero, who greatly benefitted because Truman had such low approval ratings at the end of his term. The country was ready for someone who was not from Washington to take command. In a way, he came from nowhere and played a lot of golf. The 50’s were not a volatile time in history. He was very moderate. In fact, he would be far to the left of Obama politically if he were around today. The fact that Ike was able to thrive by his perceived threat of military superiority was beneficial to the American public. The Cold War was always at the forefront and McCarthy exploited entertainment and Washington figures with the blacklist at that particular time. Ike kept silent and that is shameful.

John F. Kennedy (age 43)  was a Congressman and Senator before coming to the White House. He was NOT a big-time player in either of those bodies in government. Much like Obama, he came from nowhere in the public eye and took the country by storm quickly with his charisma and charm. America loved the idea of the Kennedy’s. Nixon had been VP for the past 8 years. He came off as establishment and was defeated narrowly.

Lyndon Johnson (age 55) benefitted by JFK’s death in that he finally got the job he wanted. He WAS a Washington player, ruling the U.S. Senate for years. He was re-elected overwhelmingly to finish the job JFK started and he did. Unfortunately he was too ambitious when it came to Vietnam vowing to “Kick Ho Chi Min’s ass.”  LBJ was very accomplished with the Civil Rights Act, Great Society legislation and the Space Program. Despite all those accomplishments, he had a weak heart and Vietnam did him in and he chose NOT to run in 1968.

Richard M. Nixon (age 55) is one of the most complex and misunderstood of all our past Presidents. He fooled everyone in 1968. He vowed to end the Vietnam War and “Bring us together.” That was the theme of his campaign. He portrayed the GOP as the Party of Hope and strength at the time. He actually escalated the war much more than LBJ did. He also started invading citizen’s privacy just like “W” did many years later. He did open up China. He also tried for Universal Health Care. He was much like Ike in a lot of his leanings as President, just not as well-loved. Watergate sunk him and his successor Gerald Ford, who pardoned Nixon in 1974 and paid the price by losing to a newcomer, Jimmy Carter in 1976.

James Earl (Jimmy)  Carter (age 52) was a peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia. He served as Governor of that state, but was an unknown. He was young and charismatic. Sound familiar? He had a wife and a young daughter. Sound familiar? He spoke well and was savvy enough to defeat Ted Kennedy in the 1980 Democratic Primaries. Carter was ineffective as a president and dispatched by Actor-Governor Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Ronald Reagan (age 69) wanted to be president for many years. He spoke well and really was able to maneuver his way into the post in 1980. Carter failed miserably in Iran. The hostage crisis crippled Carter and once Reagan was able to secure his nomination, his machine rolled over the Dems. Reagan was popular with the people. People liked him and his family. It is no surprise that America would elect a bad actor to be its figure head-in-chief. The GOP looks fondly on his stances on war, but the fact that Grenada is his only war is a long-forgotten fact. There are few if any lasting remnants of his administration, except Iran-Contra.

George H.W. Bush (age 64) was a GOP player for many years. He was CIA Director under Nixon and definitely a Republican Party stalwart throughout the years. Reagan was popular throughout most of his Presidency and Bush was a loyal team player, who was rewarded with a GOP nomination. The Dems ran Michael Dukakis, who proceeded to completely botch the general election. Bush was in office when the Wall came down and the Cold War ended. He vowed NOT to raise taxes. He raised taxes and lost re-election to a new-comer to the national stage…Bill Clinton.

William Jefferson (Bill) Clinton (age 46) was a former governor from Arkansas. He spoke well and believable and was able to charm his way through some murky political waters in 1992. Alleged romantic liaisons, past pot smoking, draft dodging, etc…This guy had it all, but the people loved him and he defeated Bush and took office with Hillary and their daughter Chelsea. Clinton actually was a financial reformer and was able to cut the deficit and leave a surplus with a lot of peace time military cuts. He was impeached for lying about the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal and was censured by the U.S. Senate after going through a trial in that body. His wife Hillary went on to serve in the U.S. Senate and as Obama’s Secretary of State in his first term.

George “W” Bush (age 54) was a son of a president and former Texas governor. He was a relatively unknown entity to the American public (along with wife Laura and their twin daughters) when he ran in 2000 against VP Albert Gore. It is disputed and debatable who actually won that election. He was easy going and people felt comfortable with his personal style. He ended up being one of the most despised presidents, along with his VP Richard Cheney. They put America into 2 wars and were on watch when the U.S. was attacked by the Taliban and Al Queda on September 11, 2001. Bush and Cheney left the White House with some of the lowest approval ratings in U.S. history.

Barack Hussein Obama (age 49) was yet another undistinguished legislator who came on quickly and took the country by storm. He is our first African American President. He is also one of the only presidents to win over 300 Electoral votes twice. Obama is known as an inspirational speaker and has good skills when it comes to dealing with the people of America. The jury is still out on his accomplishments, but Affordable Health Care, Women’s Fair Pay Act and the end of “Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell” are a few from his first term and getting Bin Laden. He and his wife Michelle have two young daughters.

Okay. What does this all mean? How does it let us know who will or won’t win in the future? The answers are not easy to detect, but there are a few clues.

AGE: Of these 13 men, four of them were in their 60’s when they became president. Three of them were in their 40’s. Six were in their 50’s. What does that say for Hillary Clinton (who will be 69) and Joe Biden (who will be 74) in 2016 if they run? I think age could be a factor for both of these public servants.
 

The answer…Obama had a vision of the future: “Yes We Can.” McCain: “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.” This is a simplification, but valuable in the perception these men offered. McCain also had the reputation of a “Maverick.” Obama was a “Community Organizer.” The country resonated with Obama’s future more than McCain. Romney suffered the same fate in 2012. He had a stale vision of the future. People found him to be a stuck up rich guy. Not good in 2012 politics, with so many people looking for jobs. The younger Obama is clearly a man of his time. Romney, somewhere stuck in 1956.

 

Let’s take a quick look at other past races.

 

  • FDR defeated Hoover when the country was on the brink. He was younger and much more progressive. He was a man who got things done and the public resonated with that message in 1932.
  • Truman defeated Dewey. The polls (which were antiquated) were wrong and Truman took his message to the people. He had the better ground game in 1948.
  • Ike defeated Washington elitist Adlai Stevenson twice. Stevenson was a better diplomat and Ike was popular.
  • JFK barely beat Nixon. He was better looking and looked like the future in the way he presented himself.
  • LBJ trounced “War Monger” Barry Goldwater, after the country went through the JFK Assassination.
  • Nixon fooled the country into believing he could “unite“ the people and end the Vietnam war when he beat Humphrey. He also portrayed McGovern as weak and trounced him in 1972. We all know how that ended.
  • The younger and outsider Jimmy Carter defeated interim Gerald Ford in 1976.
  • Reagan had the machinery in place to crush Carter in 1980. Iran Hostages, gas lines and recession marred Carter’s legacy. Reagan cruised against Mondale in 1984 as the economy improved.
  • Bush Sr. easily handled the inept Dukakis campaign in 1988.
  • The younger and political savvy Bill Clinton laid waste to Bush Sr. on taxes and other issues in 1992.
  • Bush Jr. & Gore…We still don’t know who really won that race, but our Supreme Court made the final decision.
  • “W” narrowly beat Washington Insider John Kerry by “Swift Boating” him. Kerry was a war hero and Bush and Karl Rove turned the tables by using that AGAINST  him during the General Election.

So where does that really leave us? What does it all look like in four years?

I believe it takes a younger, more energetic and smart candidate to get the machinery in gear to win an election.

 

I would look for younger, more energetic candidates in 2016. The Democrats have Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) gaining enough legislative experience in her first full term. She is younger, a woman and ambitious enough for us to keep an eye on. The GOP has Marco Rubio (R-FL), a Tea Party member who is going to become more moderate. Rubio is of Cuban descent and younger, energetic and ambitious, as well.

Jan. 28, 2013

Sarah Palin is about to close one door, but a bigger door is sure to open...Do you believe me? Read on brothers and sisters...

There are so many jokes we can make about Sarah Palin NOT being renewed by FoxNews, but I don't want to go there. Palin was a HUGE reason Obama won two straight elections. I want to thank her personally for her assistance. She was well paid in the venture by the Right Wing Fox network and right-wing Americans, who have been willing to pay for "Anything Sarah."

I will miss her. Barack H. Obama will miss her.

Having Palin's continual lunacy for the past five years has been a blessing to progressives. We have loved to hate her for her wonderful sayings like "paling around with terrorists" and "I can see Russia from..." OK, you get the idea.

Her political craziness has made her a millionaire many times over with that Fox contract, book deals and a future full of high-paying speaking engagements forevermore. Her base will never tire of her message. 

Now she can show up on Rush Limbaugh, Hannity (as a guest from the outside), NBC, CBS, CNN & ABC. At some point, she will be sought after by all the networks to give "her side" of the issues that will come up.

We are NOT losing Sarah Palin, we are gaining Sarah Palin with multi-network credibility. There are people who like her a lot. The networks may take a break, but they will come calling.

Oh Sarah please do not take too long to come back to our living rooms. We will be waiting...

Jan. 24, 2013

Let me preface this entry with the fact that I am a fan of Hillary Rodham Clinton. I voted for her in the 2008 California Presidential  Primary. I have also been a proponent of a qualified woman running our country as president. Clinton IS qualified, probably more so than ANYONE on the scene or behind the scenes in our current government.

I also know that she has always wanted that job, but I hope and pray that she doesn't want it when she needs to decide about running for the 2016 nomination.

Why on earth would I think, or even say this? 

REALITY.

Reality is a bitch when it comes to what we want, rather than what is best for ourselves, or our country.

Hillary was an exemplerary First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State. She has served and excelled at everything she has done. We forget she was a great attorney before politics entered Bill Clinton's and Her life as a profession in the 1980's.

OK. Let me get to the point. 2016 is a long way off and she will be older (69 years old in 2016). Obama's America is a vastly different place than it was in January, 2009. He has governed with a Democratic-sized elephant on his back in a climate that has NEVER been seen in Washington, but has managed to get a lot of stuff through, despite senatorial fillibusters, Tea Party interference and a slew of nominees who were never confirmed during his first term.

This political minefield has become the political norm in Washington and Obama has used VP Joe Biden in a very active way NEVER scene in presedential politics in the past. Our past VPs have been VERY behind the scenes and figureheads for the most part. George H.W. Bush was the closest thing to a working VP we have had before Biden. Cheney was more of an advisor co-president to "W." They had wars to wage and an economy that was flimsy due to Credit Default Swaps and "No Money Down" investments.

Would Hillary REALLY want to follow Obama if he continues to excel in a job no one in Washington thought he was qualified for in the first place? Obama surprised a lot of those pudits and insiders with his ability to maneuver through the crap known as congress.

Hillary was AWESOME facing the senate and then the house on Benghazi. She excels at being MORE prepared and eloquent. She knows more than most of her former collegues. Hillary Clinton is smarter and has more stamina than anyone, having traveled more tha 1 million miles in her 4 years working for Obama. She was incredible as Secretary of State.

Here is my ONE thing. It is a big one. Hillary has NO PATIENCE for small-minded politicians. She blows her cool quite often when other people do not see her point. The difference between her and President Obama is his willingness to educate the public over and over again on whatever issue he is pursuing. I really don't see her using this now-proven technique. Obama is professorial and commited. He was a constitutional law professor in a past life. This has helped him greatly in getting the public support.

If Hillary Clinton were to pay close attention to her former boss and use some of these techniques. If her health is good by then and she gets a little bit of a makeover again, it could happen.

I have to say that in my opinion America loves energetic and youthful leadership and someone we can trust and WHO LISTENS TO US. That is what we are getting right now.

I hope Hillary gets some rest and REALLY thinks about these ideas and really watches how President Obama progresses through these next 4 years. Will we get somone to carry on, or move us in a different direction?

This is what will really get addressed for the next graduating class of presedential candidates.