Category Archives: Political Pundit

My Email to Senator Cruz

So I live in Texas which means that Senator Cruz is one of my senators.  I admittedly did not pay much attention to the Senate election last year as I was focused on the Presidential election.  My mistake.  Senator Cruz won a hard fought primary then had little competition in the general election.  Somehow that emboldened him and he went to Congress guns blazing Texas style.  Less than a year later he’s not only running the Republicans in the Senate but seems to be calling the shots in the House too!  It’s kind of amazing that a freshman Senator is wielding this much power so early in his first term.

Anywho below is my email to Senator Cruz. They make you fill out a form with your name/address/email etc through his website so of course I didn’t want to say anything too crazy.  I kept it PG for the Secret Service but threw in a little shadiness where I could :).  We will see if I get a response.

Senator Cruz

I am a lifelong Democrat but I was reminded that despite my party affiliation, as a Texan you still represent me in Congress. I wanted to personally email you and say that the current crisis that you, on your own, have created in Congress is ridiculous. The current government shutdown benefits no one, especially not Texans, the people who YOU were sent to Congress to represent. We realize that you are planning for life beyond the Senate and that’s great but please do not forget our needs as you aim for higher office.

On top of not benefiting Texans, this government shut down plan does not even seem to benefit the Republican party! If Obamacare is so horrible it seems to me the logical thing to do would be to implement it and watch the country “fail” as you claim it will. If that were to happen, which I personally doubt, America would be running to vote the Republican party into leadership in Congress, then you could claim a referendum and repeal it in a truly democratic fashion. This current plan is not what our representative Democracy is about and seems to ignore the will of the people. We elected and re-elected President Obama, with healthcare reform being one of his biggest campaign promises.

As a fellow member of the Texas Bar I admire your educational and legal background. It is undeniable that you have a brilliant mind, at least a brilliant legal mind. I do not think this government shutdown scheme is a true reflection of what good you are likely capable of in Congress, quit pandering to extreme factions of your party by dumbing it down.

After reading this email, I also hope you quit saying your constituents are not in support of Obamacare and want it stopped at any cost including a government shutdown. I know many Texans, from both parties that are not in agreement with the current actions of Congress. Above all I hope both parties can reach a reasonable decision that leaves intact legislation that is now law and above all constitutional.

Sincerely,

Erika Harrison

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Americans Want Obamacare!

Once again our divided Congress cannot come together, act like adults and make a decision on the budget or the debt ceiling. Republicans continue to provide Democrats options to prevent a government shut down related to either defunding Obamacare or delayin it.  In defending this stance I have heard countless Republicans state that the American people do not want Obamacare.  I swear if I could scream from the mountain tops on that one I would.  I have continued to break this down from every angle I can think of but I for one cannot find any evidence that indicates that the majority of Americans do not want Obamacare.

Let’s start with what is called the silent majority. Do not be misled by the loud and vocal Obamacare protestors or the town halls that seem to be enraged by the impending implementation of Obamacare.  Just because you are the loudest does not mean you are in the majority. Ironically at some points we have viewed the silent majority as the conservative faction of our country. You know the older “typical Regan supporting American” who is not to into the whole grassroots organizing thing like Liberals, but what they will do is vote and that is when it matters.  Well I am starting to feel that the Obamacare supporters, likely liberals are now the silent majority in this country.

During the 2008 election, Healthcare was a hot button issue. Seems crazy now looking back but Republican candidates put forth plans on changing American’s health care system too.  Back then it seemed like a necessity for winning under that climate.  When we mention President Obama’s campaign for office from a historical standpoint, without a doubt his campaign pledge to provide universal healthcare would be included.  When presented with his plans to overhaul American’s healthcare system majority of Americans sided with President Obama over John McCain effectively voting for universal healthcare as well. So in 2008 I would say we had a majority of Americans in support of Obamacare.

Moving on to 2012. Now with the Healthcare bill passed, Republican candidates continued to make this an issue but now instead of providing a different plan, they campaigned on repealing the current plan.  In Romney’s case we can argue that there was a conflict with his health care statements during the election, and what he did while Governor of Massachusetts and that might account for the discrepancy in voting but this is who you selected during the primaries.  One of the key things, if not THE key thing Mitt Romney ran on was a repealing Obamacare and once again a majority of Americans sided with President Obama, giving their approval on healthcare again.

Back in 2008 election, it was essentially a referendum on President Bush so the Democrats held majority in the House, Senate and captured the White House.  During midterm elections, the Republicans took over the House and have held control ever since.  In 2012, the Republicans would have loved to gain ground in Washington by taking over the Senate or the White House. They failed to do either.  Even though they maintained the majority in the House, as a combined total Democratic candidates received move votes in all the House elections than Republicans.  Another majority for you. More Americans cast votes for Democratic, Obamacare supporting candidates, in 2012 legislative elections. So districting, or gerrymandering, allowed Republicans to maintain the House in 2012.

The only “strong” win I see for Republicans  is the midterm elections from 2010. I recently heard President Clinton state that we see two different Americas during a midterm election and a Presidential election which could easily account for the varied results.  Just from a pure numbers stand point we know that voter turnout is significantly lower during midterm elections. So I ask again, where are they getting this majority of the country does not want ObamaCare from?

It is crazy to me that Republicans continue to make this “majority of Americans” argument when the facts are not there. They are not holding up our country on a principle argument or by doing what the “majority” wants. In short, if the majority of Americans agreed with you, you would not be in the minority in Washington. I get it, these candidates ran on repealing Obamacare and if they want to keep their jobs in Congress they have to do what they said they were going to do in Washington. That is fine but lets not confuse what is going on here.  Time and time again, on a national level, majority of Americans have indicated that they want and support Obamacare.  Now if you those who elected you from your small district in Ohio or your entire home state in the case of Senators do not support it that is fine, but let’s not prevent our country from handling it’s business just to stop what the majority has continued to vote in support of.

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Justice for Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin is dead and the man who killed him is still in the land of the living as a free man.  I am still wrapping my head around this reality. I am proud of our nation for standing up and fighting for justice for Trayvon Martin. Without the public’s initial disgust with no arrest, this trial would have never happened.  We would have still been dealing with what ifs. So that I say that is a step in the right direction.  Just hard because it does not feel like Trayvon Martin and his family got the justice they so rightly deserved.

My mind always looks at trends or deviations from history. After this verdict I immediately thought of cases from the 1960s such as Medgar Evers and Emmett Till.  Both black men killed in the South by white men.  Their murder trials were brought before an all white jury who would ultimately fail to return a guilty verdict.  These cases happened 50 years ago but I cannot help to see the similarities with Trayvon Martin.  We think about how far we have come but moments like this remind us about how far we still have to go as a nation.

As an attorney I hoped and prayed that our justice system could show not just Black America, but also the world that we are no longer the same system of the past but Lady Justice is truly blind in America for once.  I cannot say that happened tonight.  Hardest thing for me as an attorney is to concede to people that the system does not always work. It does not always put the guilty behind bars and does not always free the innocent.  African American men as defendants and victims in this justice system face different realities and are so often those who face the unjust “justice” system.

The NAACP is already calling for the Department of Justice to pursue federal charges.  The Federal government could chose to bring charges under civil rights statutes against George Zimmerman and not violate double jeopardy.  From the beginning I hoped the Department of Justice would be able to make a case.  I just do not think that they will be able to.   They need to show that he killed Trayvon Martin simply because he was black.  While his reasons for initially following Trayon would leave many of us to believe that, it is a leap in logic to use that to pursue federal charges.

In today’s society, being racist is not the politically correct thing to do.  The man who murdered Medgar Evers in 1963, Bryon De La Beckwith was very open about his hatred of African Americans.  We do not always see that today.  The scariest racist is often the one who you cannot see, the one who does not fully articulate their hatred. They may harbor ill will or truly believe certain stereotypes. In addition, they may act on these beliefs in ways that can be explained away with some legitimate reason such as you just were not qualified for the job as opposed to they did not want to hire a black person.  To some degree it is even unconscious for them. This is the racist of today and I think they are even harder to convict under a Civil Rights statute.  That is the difficulty I see here.  Even now, we do not fully understand George Zimmerman’s thought process that night. He very well could be harboring hatred towards African Americans but he never stated that and more importantly his actions can be explained away by “self-defense” and not purely a hate crime.

Going forward I think the best plan of action for those who want to ensure this never happens again through lobbying within the state of Florida to change some of their laws. With the nation watching you guys have dropped the ball twice, once with Casey Anthony and now George Zimmerman. Time to reexamine some things Florida.  First I think self defense should be rolled back to the common law version of self defense that worked just fine forever.  Under that, you have the duty to retreat if possible unless you are in your home. You cannot “stand your ground” and essentially have a modern day duel.  One of the biggest things that new legislation should highlight is that the initial aggressor cannot then use self defense after creating the situation.  Another interesting thing Florida could do,

Florida should also increase the number of members of a jury.  Six people is clearly not enough to get a fair cross section of the community.  I say clearly because the jury consisted of five white women and one woman who’s race has been debated.  She has been described by some as a Hispanic woman or black woman and others as a biracial woman.  When you have underlining issues of race I think it is even more important to have a diverse jury.  They all bring different experiences in with them to the jury box.  The prosecution also dropped the ball on their selection in this case as well but with only six spots there is only so much you can do.

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Fisher v. University Texas: Upcoming Affirmative Action decision

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This week marks the final week that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will release their decisions from this session. There are a few major cases that America is waiting. These cases will decide major issues for our society including affirmative action in higher education, voting rights, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8 relating to gay marriage in California. The last two cases are known collectively as the same sex marriage cases.

SCOTUS blog suggests there will be three days of decisions this week. Monday, possibly Wednesday and Thursday.  So they do not blow up the internet specifically twitter, I hope that each issue get its’ own day. Perhaps affirmative action on Monday, Voting rights on Wednesday and the same sex marriage cases on Thursday.  The case that I am most anxiously awaiting is the Affirmative Action case, Fisher v. University of Texas. I am a beneficiary of Affirmative Action in higher education and I see the value that it provides going forward.

Like the petitioner in this case Abigail Fisher, I attended high school in the state of Texas.  In Texas there is a top ten percent rule that allows all the students in the top ten percent of their senior class automatic admission into public universities including our flagship school University of Texas.  I graduated high school well before Ms. Fisher but I know that by my sophomore year our counselors and teachers made it clear to us that if you wanted to get into University of Texas we needed to be in the top ten percent of our graduating class.  Well Abigail Fisher was not in the top ten percent and when she did not get accepted into one of the few remaining seats she sued claiming race was why she did not get in.  For the remaining seats UT uses race as A factor not THE deciding factor to determine admittance. More importantly the top ten percent rule was used as a race neutral way to ensure diversity at the top University.  For example the top ten percent of a predominately black High School would presumably include black students. So it is a way to bring in top diverse students into the school.  With majority of the class being filled with students at the top of their respective Texas high schools it seems to me the real reason that Abigail Fisher was not admitted into the UT was because did not fall into the top ten percent of her class!

Another frustration for me in any affirmative action case is the need to point to the student of color as the reason why you did not get into the University.  There are so many people who are entering top Universities for reasons other than their academic merit.  The University’s athletes are not held to the same stringent rules and requirements as other students. Why don’t you point to them?  Also some schools are really big on admitting children of alumni.  When I applied to Texas A&M there was a large portion of their application, for their legacy program.   After complaints by minority groups, the school officially ended the legacy program but I would be surprised if it was not still occurring in some degree off the record.  In addition to alumni, you also have the children of large donors.  I cannot imagine a University saying no to the child of a large donor simply because they do not meet the academic requirements.  So again why are people not up in arms based on these students “taking their spot” in the incoming freshmen class?

Sometimes we lose site on why a diverse classroom is essential.  I think of a class discussion about Affirmative Action for example.  What if every student in the classroom came from a Protestant home, upper middle class, two parents and white.  Without a doubt our backgrounds shape our opinions and rightfully so.  So if everyone is from the same background how interesting would that discussion be? What could we learn from each other? Now if you mix in a variety of people from different races, gay and lesbian parents, single mom or single dad, different social economic backgrounds, religions, regions of the country and genders then the opinions would be just as diverse as they are! This is how we learn.  When I look back at my collegiate experience, learning from my classmates who came from different backgrounds was a huge part of that.  More importantly the world is diverse and our workplace is becoming more and more diverse. It is better to have exposure to that in college rather than getting into the workplace and being completely ignorant about people from other backgrounds.

Many people believe affirmative action is dead in the water at this point because the Supreme Court has a conservative majority.  In addition, the fact that they even took the case leads some to believe that they must have something to say on the issue. So we have nine justices, four liberal and five conservative.  Justice Kagan recused herself from this case so there are only three liberal justices and five conservatives making the decision.  If it is a four to four decision, meaning a conservative stepped over to the liberal side, then it is not strong precedent and will not mark much change. If all five conservatives agree with Fisher then we will likely see the end of Affirmative Action in higher education as we know it.  I honestly hope they do not even get to the Affirmative Action issue at all.  University of Texas has stated that even if Abigail Fisher was a person of color based on her scores she would not have gotten in.  She has since graduated from LSU and has a job in Austin.  Also as I said before, I believe the main reason Abigail Fisher did not get into UT is because she was not in the top ten percent. That is life, 90% of Texas high school students found themselves in the same predicament but they did not sue.  I would also LOVE if the opinion ended with Ms. Fisher, life isn’t always fair and we don’t always get what we want but we make the best of it and realize everything happens for a reason. 

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President Obama’s Inauguration!

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I was one of the 800,000 who attended President Barack Obama’s inauguration for his second term! After missing out on the historical experience in 2009 due to law school I was so excited for the opportunity to attend this year. We were some of the lucky ones with tickets to the event. Not the great seated tickets but the “close” standing room. We headed into the district via the train at about 6:30am from Maryland for an 11:30am event mind you and were herded like cattle to the back of our section to the far left. We were essentially late. If we gotten there a little earlier I think we would have gotten the prized area right smack dab in the middle were we would have had views of figures moving across the stage and perhaps figures that were in the zoomable range. Through the barren trees we were able to see the TV monitors. The cheers and jeers of the crowd also gave us a good indication of who was entering. Beyonce, Queen B as I like to call her, received the loudest cheers after the President of course. Representative Boehner and Representative Cantor were mercilessly booed as expected. Then there was the President’s speech. Despite not being able to make him out with my naked eye, I loved that I was there to hear all of it in real time. Then being surrounded by likeminded supporters of the President made it even better.

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-Side view of the Capitol as we made our way to our ticketed area.

After Beyonce blessed us with her beautiful recorded voice we left . Going to the parade sounded good in theory but really after standing on my feet for six hours all I could think was lunch and then back home to bed. Oh and let me just tell you, I’ve never felt more like cattle in my life! Capitol police would close off gates at a moments notice to push people in another direction and like cattle you wouldn’t know where you were going until you were stuck. In fact they almost tricked us into moving into an area further back, by herding you in the direction of the closer standing room area but then cutting that side off and pushing you back 100ft. Since we played it smart, we were able to move up closer. Still not close enough to really see but closer.

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– The best view we got. I assume that portion with the Presidential seal is where the speakers stood although I couldn’t make them out.

Would I do it again? Probably not. A hilarious guy next to us said this is that thing you do once to say you did and never do it again! If I ever made the trip back to DC for another inauguration I will only partake in the the parade and a nice inaugural ball where the President is expected to make an appearance. Still seeing the first African American President being sworn in for his second term was an AMAZING experience! Still very glad I made the trip!

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-Our view through the trees, LOL and someone’s hat!

Oh and in a moment of what could of been… On Tuesday after the inauguration my family and I went on a tour of the Capitol led by a staff member from my Congressmen’s office. If you have the choice, the staff led tours see more than the standard tour from the Capitol Visitors center. Well during our exclusive tour we made our way to the door that President Obama entered the Inauguration stage from. There was a line forming for visitors to step out onto the stage and take pictures and take in all of the Inaugural exclusivity! We were SO excited. As we waited in line we thought about what angles we would take our pictures from. Who we would send the pictures to, to make them jealous of course. We were literally next in line to head out onto the stage when Capitol police told us we are sorry, we just got word that only Congressional staff are allowed out on the stage from this point on. Talk about a let down!! But I was able to get this little view from inside :(.

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We were SO CLOSE!

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Soundtrack to my Election Night

 

A few of my favorite political, call to action, change the world kind of songs that I will have on repeat on election night.

1. Janelle Monae- Mr. President

2. Allen Stone- Unaware

3. Kanye West, Malik Yusef, and Adam Levine- Promise Land

4. John Legend- If You’re Out There

5. Stevie Wonder- Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours

6. Allen Stone- Last to Speak

7. Sam Cooke- A Change is Gonna Come

8. Emeli Sande- Hope

9. Beyonce- I Was Here

10. Oh and of course… Young Jezzy ft. Jay Z- My President is Black (LOL)

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Mitt Romney thinks he’s the President

My first hint that Former Governor was a little delusional about his current role in American Government came when he and his wife went to London for the 2012 Summer Olympics.  The Romneys had a horse competing in the Olympics, because yes they are just that wealthy, but what was interesting was the Opening Ceremonies.  President Obama was not present at the Olympics but he sent his wife Michelle Obama in his place.  During the Opening Ceremonies  as the American athletes paraded in Mitt Romney and his wife Ann Romney stood up and waved and saluted the delegation of athletes as if they were receiving them.  I sat there and thought this man really thinks he is President in his mind!! It is not the role of the candidate to receive or welcome the American athletes.  In the President’s absence that was the role of First Lady Michelle Obama.  The Romney’s seemed completely oblivious to this protocol. Fast forward to now and Mitt Romney’s delusions are even more prevalent.

During the last debate, which focused on foreign policy, Romney continued to make statements related to the goings on in other countries, including enemies like Iran, as if he talked to insiders in these countries daily or received briefings from the CIA. Statements such as Iran’s true feelings about our government to which Obama rebuffed as an untrue statement.  I had to sit back and say once again this man believes he is the President and is taking the rumors his campaign drudged up as intelligence reports that he then presents to the American people as truth.  If Romney was a current senator on important homeland security committees than maybe I would give him a little leeway here but he is not.  At this point Mr. Romney is just an American citizen like you or I who happens to be running for President. He does not receive official security briefings and to pretend as if he does is flat out delusional.

As the East Coast prepared for Hurricane Sandy this weekend, his delusions became even more evident.  The President is in a unique position where he campaigns but still has a job that he cannot abandon for full time campaigning. With the election only a week away and the thought of President Bush’s fumbling of the Katrina response not such a distant memory, it was important that Obama make being the President his number one priority.  So as any good President would do, Obama postponed his campaign events and sent surrogates like Bill Clinton and Joe Biden instead in order to focus on preparing for the hurricane and the necessary relief efforts after the Hurricane.

Well Romney decided he needed to do the same, also postponing his campaign events during the hurricane. Keep in mind that Mitt Romney does not currently hold an office and has no role in the response effort.  So why would he postpone his events?! Because he thinks he is the President that is why.  To make matters worse, Romney called the Republican Governors in the path of the storm. This is what the President does! The current President of the United States calls the Governors to offer federal support and talk about a game plan. Candidates do not do this! I think Mitt Romney avoided calling the other Democratic Governors in the impacted area simply because that would look too much like being the President and frankly those Governors may have laughed and refused such a political call.  So on top of overstepping his bounds as a candidate Mitt Romney also appears extremely partisan while he has lambasted President Obama for the hyper partisan behavior that has troubled this administration. It was a truly unnecessary step to take.

Mitt Romney did not stop there though today appearing at an event in Ohio which his team has labeled a storm relief event where he accepted donations for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy and also campaigned. I honestly do not knock Romney for continuing to campaign.  What else he supposed to do since he is not the President. What I do take issue with though is his attempt to label the event as something it was not. This was not a relief effort event, it was a campaign event, in a major swing state mind you, where you happened to be accepting money as well. Pretending to be President seems to be getting a little messy for the Romney team.  So to Mr. Romney I say in 2008 you lost to John McCain in the Republican Primaries who then lost to President Obama thus making him President and not you!  We are only a week away from the end of this of election and it cannot come soon enough but if we see Romney visiting the areas devastated by Sandy before election day next Tuesday I will have a conniption!

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Debate Night 2012

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Tonight is the first Presidential debate between President Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney. For a politics nerd like myself this is like the first round of the playoffs leading up to the superbowl, election day. Here are a few things I think both sides should do in the debate tonight in order to win over more voters.

Former Governor Romney

Be easy on the zingers

Reports are that Mitt Romney is practicing several zingers for the debate tomorrow. I am concerned. Let’s be honest. You need a certain level of coolness to really make a zing work and Romney just does not have it. It is going to be corny mark my word. He does need the zingers because those are the lines that people remember and discuss the next day at the water cooler. That is what Romney needs, he needs a positive comment replayed by the “liberal” media as he calls it. He needs to win here so treed lightly governor.

We need details sir!

The biggest substantive critique of Romney right now is he has failed to give us details on his plans specifically his tax plan. Specific details rather than what he claims the overall impact will be of his tax plan! When these issues come up Romney needs to balance attacking what Obama has done with a sprinkling of blanket statements but a large amount of details! That is what we are all waiting for even the Republicans are waiting on details.

Be genuine

Romney needs to appear that he genuinely cares and lets be honest that is nearly impossible for him. The democrats have played up this out of touch rich white man from the beginning and the recent leak of the “47% video” fell right into that only difference was that the elitism came from his mouth not the democrats! So how does he do that? Well what he should not do is be too empathetic it will come of as fake. I have heard that there are some great anecdotes that highlight a softer Romney that he refuses to use because he did not do these things to win an election they were just out of the kindness of his heart. Well Romney you are losing, it is time to bust those stories out and the debate is a great time for it.

Women, minorities and the poor

Romney is polling extremely low among women, Hispanics and African Americans and it does not seem like he cares. I do not think Romney can win the general election with only older white men voting for him. He is going to need to pull from another demographic. I will be surprised if Romney makes it through all of the debates without a question regarding women’s health issues ranging from abortion to birth control. Romney needs to find some balance between the male conservative, who has an odd need to control the reproductive organs of women, with the rights and desires of women to have their own autonomy when dealing with their bodies! He also needs to find a more attractive stance on immigration, which is another question that will be brought up in one of these debates. Advocating for self-deportation is not going to garner him any Hispanic votes. Although he needs to find a better solution here, I don’t see him doing it because the opposing side to this debate falls squarely among his supporters. He’s probably not going to win a majority of these groups over but a few percentage points would not hurt.

President Obama

Be cool you are winning!

Now is not the time for a Romney level debate gaffe, like the “wanna bet $10,000” comment made during the Republican primary debate. Obama needs to be cool as a cucumber and well thought out in his answers. Republicans are praying for a slip up because it could be a huge momentum changer in this race and that is exactly what Romney needs. Cool is what Obama does best so I am not too concerned. I will be surprised if there is an Obama gaffe in the debate, now Biden on the other hand that is a different story.

Add some zingers!

Leaders of Obama’s campaign have made it seem like zingers are beneath him. They’ve indicated that he will be highlighting the issues and speaking directly to the American people without the applause lines. Honestly I hope this was just bluffing because zingers are what make Presidential debates fun and there is so much material with Romney! An attack on “Obamacare” a zinger about “Romneycare” would fit right in. A line about his flip flopping would also be good! I hope Obama goes for it.

Don’t be to professorial

President Obama is a smart man. He actually was a professor at one of the top law schools in America. I think this is a strength and a negative all in one. He knows the issues well and can break them down but maybe not plain enough for all the American people. So I hope Obama takes a page from Bill Clinton’s book and just makes it plain to the American people. Speak directly about issues that they understand impact them. I think he can do this.

This should be a fun debate to watch!

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Obama, Anti-Religion?

Obama Anti-Religious?

That is what Newt Gingrich wants us to believe.  During his speeches Gingrich has stated several times that President Obama is anti-religion. He then goes on to say that once in office (ha!) he will change all of the anti-religion policies of the Obama administration.  I was honestly very confused by this!  Despite rumors of President Obama being a Muslim, he is a Christian so why would he be waging a war against religion, particularly Christianity from the oval office?  Aside from being a Christian let’s also not forget the provision in American government called “separation of church and state”.  Well I decided to head over to Google and do some research on this issue.

From what I can tell it appears that Gingrich believes that a contraception regulation amounts to a war against Christianity.  A new regulation by the Department of Health and Human Services requires employers to provide contraception for their employees.   There are of course exemptions to these rules including Churches. Gingrich and others are up in arms about those who the exemption does not extend to, Catholic Hospitals and Universities.  In my mind that means they would not want a professor at Notre Dame to be able to have contraception covered under her insurance.  That is definitely not the entire Catholic Church as I was led to believe by Gingrich’s statements.

Of course the line between contraception and abortion has been blurred with Gingrich even claiming that the Obama administration is forcing Catholic churches to pay for abortions for their employees.  I wish we could make these two things very clear categories. For one I believe that giving people access to contraception lowers the numbers of abortion.  I have no stats to back this but it just makes sense to me!  If birth control is covered under a woman’s insurance, she is able to prevent a unplanned pregnancy through the insurance that she already pays for. We need to stop confusing two, it’s inflammatory and appears to be stoking the flames.

Catholics groups have argued that this rule stops their religious freedom.  I think it does something different, it allows the employees to have a choice.  If an employee follows the strict rules of Catholicism, which does not even condone the pill, then they will decide not to get a prescription through their insurance regardless.  If they are someone who does not follow this mindset but just so happen to work for a Catholic organization, I do not believe they should be prevented from making their own choice based on their own beliefs.  I guess the solution would be to hire people who adhere to your beliefs but determining this obviously creates other problems including privacy issues.

Call me crazy but I do not think this one little regulation amounts to a war on religion.  This policy seems to enable the employee’s religious freedom.  More importantly Gingrich’s claims constantly include the word “abortion” which runs contrary to the actual rule from the Department of Health and Human Services.  So I am going to label this Gingrich claim to be a complete exaggeration with a few untruths thrown in the mix as well!

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Political Season Has Begun!

The Iowa caucus marks the official start of the 2012 election season!  It was a historic caucus with the final vote coming down to just eight votes in favor of Romney.   Here is my rundown of the Iowa Caucus by candidate from the lowest finish to the winner!

Jon Huntsman– He did not compete in Iowa at all and has focused his time on New Hampshire.  Republicans have not given him a chance but I think he is a great candidate for the Republican Party.  I hope he takes a turn as the frontrunner like everyone else; he is definitely more worthy of it than some of the others.

Michelle Bachmann– Not much to say about her.  She lost her home state after winning the straw poll.  It’s time for her to pack it up, America clearly isn’t buying her brand of loony.

Rick Perry– Perry clearly did not think running for President would be this difficult.  He has faced some ugly campaigns in Texas and has always managed to win! Perry entered this race having never lost a political election ever. That is virtually unheard of!  Romney lost a bid for Congress as did President Obama and Santorum lost reelection.  I’d imagine Perry entered this race with a little arrogance, some of that comes from being a Texan too.  I also think Perry has gotten far on looks and charisma in life but it just was not working on the national stage.   The failure of his campaign falls on him.  He never had to fight his way to the top like many of the other candidates he came in on top!  He just never could handle the debates, and slowly dwindled.  After his disappointing finish in Iowa yesterday Perry said he is headed back to Texas to re-evaluate his campaign.  Sounds like he’s hanging it up but I would not be surprised if he stays around until South Carolina.  Perry and Gingrich (both Southerners) seem to think that state will be great for them.  Whether he continues or not this campaign is done, he is not making it to the White House.  Now as a Texan, I hope he doesn’t get his election mojo back anytime soon!

Newt Gingrich–  Look for Gingrich to really start going after Romney after his disappointing finish. The day of the caucus he called Romney a liar.  Those are fighting words!   Gingrich continues to speak out against attack ads targeting him. These ads are put out by Romney supporters who Romney claims he has no control over.   Romney may not technically have control over these groups but rest assure if they were producing ads that were running contrary to his message they would be calling them. Essentially Romney has approved these messages regardless of what he says.   Anywho, Gingrich’s complaints about these ads make him seem like a cry baby if you ask me.  Politics is an ugly game; play at your own risk!  He’s crying now but Gingrich will not be crying for long, expect him to start playing dirty too!  He does not have the money to go at Romney in a similar manner but he will use the debates for this.  During debates Gingrich usually tries to play the great unifier among the Republicans but that will be out of the door next time!

So why did Gingrich do so poorly in Iowa? I’d say his past came back to haunt him.   We have only had one president who was divorced before, Ronald Reagan.  Think about that even in modern times, even after the Marilyn Monroes and Monica Lewinskys only one president was divorced!  That says something about what Americans expect of our presidents even if we do not value the same in our own lives.  Gingrich has been married three times. His earlier marriages ended after he began affairs with his next wife.   I do not hold the extreme conservative viewpoints of the Evangelicals that make of the Republican Party in Iowa but even I have to question the man’s character based on his personal life!  Gingrich’s personal life got a lot of play after he took his turn as the top candidate.  I think that was one of the things that bothered Iowans.   I am not too sure how he will do here on out. His calm demeanor is starting to show cracks, and his extreme arrogance is showing more and more.

Ron Paul– Can I just say that he is one of my favorite politicians of all time in both parties.   I will leave his connection to bigoted statements aside for this post.  I just love that he is just about the truth whether his audience likes it or not. There is a lot of pandering done by the other candidates and  Paul is not going to do it!  It also cracks me up that he constantly wears what looks like a 15 year old off the rack suit! He clearly has no image consultant but that is what makes people like him! Is he extreme in his views, yes and I often do not agree with him but I give him credit for standing up saying what he believes! I think finishing third is great for Paul, it shows that he is no longer just a fringe candidate.  I don’t think Paul will win but his presence in the Republican primary can bring attention to unpopular views like not just jumping into a war with Iran as many of the other candidates have suggested.

Rick Santorum– Where did he come from in Iowa?? It seems like everyone has taken his or her turn at the top of the pack (except for poor Huntsman) and I guess it was just Santorum’s turn.  Luckily for him the timing of his rise happened to fall within the week of the Iowa Caucus.  This could create the momentum he needs to stay at the top a lot longer than the other candidates did but I do not think that will happen.  Santorum will likely suffer the same fate of Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and then Newt Gingrich.  They were all leaders of the pack for a few weeks then back down to the bottom.   The ironic thing is that Mitt Romney has sat back unscathed during this whole musical chairs episode.  We will see how he handles the new spotlight during the next debate.  He will now be front and center flanked by Romney and Ron Paul with former leaders Perry and Gingrich pushed to the nosebleeds.  I think he will choke.

Mitt Romney–  From the beginning Romney has been the most realistic candidate for the Republican party but for some reason he just cannot get the party to rally behind him! The “anyone but Romney” mission is alive and well.  It is to blame for the constantly changing frontrunner. Despite all of the negativity, Romney has run a decent campaign without huge blunders like Herman Cain or Rick Perry.   This go around Romney did not put has much effort into winning Iowa and still managed to have a fight to the finish with Santorum.  There is no excitement about it but Romney will keep trucking along and will be the last man standing.  So it’s time to face it Republican Party, Romney is your candidate for the general election, get excited.

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