Another Write-wing Conspirator

Commentary, observations, musing, and ranting from the middle of the road (or just to the right of center. Usually.) featuring The Curmudgeon

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  • Welcome to The Curmudgeon’s lair

    Welcome to my curmudgeondom. As you’ll soon learn, your reactions to my missives here are likely to range from fear to loathing to tears to outright rage—and I just might even evoke from you an occasional sober nod or two.

    If you see a posting you like and wish to share it with others, by all means feel free to do so. I'd prefer that you send the link to your friends, but you're also welcome to reproduce anything here—as long as you retain my identity on the document. If you have a web site of your own and wish to post a link to this blog (or to a specific post), again, feel free to do so.

    The purpose of this blog is simple: to provide me a vehicle for sounding-off on whatever topic suits me at the moment. While there’s sure to be no shortage of politically-oriented palaver here, it is by no means all (nor necessarily even most) of what will be proffered to your discerning mind. You’ll also find that my personal politics, ethics, morals, and standards are pretty much “all over the map” (according to my mother-in-law)—so, don’t be surprised to see rants regarding, say, the interference of churches in politics, politically-correct anything, “nanny” laws, taxes, the United Nations, Congress, the Commissioner of Baseball, the State of Ohio’s speed limits, steroids, Jesse Jackson, the “mainstream” media, ultra-liberals, ultra-conservatives, the price of cigarettes, Obamarxism, regulating sales of alcohol, gasoline price manipulation, Muslim foot baths, illegal immigration, laws banning the sale of adult sex toys, cell phones, heavy-handed cops, meddlesome politicians, Hillary, Billary, our all-but-self-proclaimed uncrowned Queen Nancy, “W”, eminent domain, freedom of speech, and the designated hitter all in succession. It is, as I said, my curmudgeondom — and I have the credentials and bona fides to lay claim to the title of The Curmudgeon. So, there.

    Some of the postings you'll encounter may seem familiar—especially to those who know me personally. By way of explanation… I once had an ongoing relationship with a local newspaper, and had a number of published opinion pieces—some of which may be posted here. My arrangement was for a feature entitled An Opposing View; given that the editorial staff had a generally liberal, left-of-center view, it stands to reason that my "opposing" view would generally be perceived as coming from the right (in more ways than one, in my own humble opinion). These posts will be annotated as having been previously published.

    Comments, of course, are always welcome. You may agree or disagree with me. Doesn’t matter. Of course, I reserve the right to completely ignore you — but, feel free to let your feelings be known, anyway. And if you don't want to comment directly here, my e-mail address is: jimseeber@gmail.com .

    Oh, and…yes, I can spell. That "Write-wing" is only a play on words. So, there. Again.

    Welcome, once again. Strap in and hang on.

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  • About this “curmudgeon” guy…

    Armchair philosopher, politically-incorrect political commentator, raconteur, retired air traffic controller, dilettante truck driver, US Army veteran, recluse, sometime-writer, redneck convert neè Buckeye, ne'er-do-well, bon vivant, unrepentant libertine, unapologetic libertarian, and (of course) curmudgeon…

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Archive for November, 2010

Roadapplettes and Other Gems from the Highway

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 28, 2010

Relax; common courtesy still does exist—just where you’d least expect to find it.

As some may already be aware, I (the “dilettante truck driver” referred to on this web page) am once again dilettante-ing. Yes, I am — much to the horror of the motoring public — back on the road…and over-the-road, as they say. Departed Dixie and delivered a load in Denver—my first such operation in nearly two years (yes; it did show—at the start of the trip, at least). Just arrived in Denver again on another delivery.

For those who’ve never experienced operating one of these 80,000-pound behemoths…think about some of those movies you’ve seen where a guy is trying to steer an ill-tempered and severely constipated elephant as one would a horse; now you understand why the dude’s all excited and hollering at the elephant: “Turn, Simba! Turn, you beast!”

I felt like that at times during the first week—especially given my somewhat rusty skills. Fortunately, it all came back. Mostly, anyway. Even some of that uniquely frustrating art of backing that fifty-three feet-long hemorrhoid (others call it a trailer) into a loading dock. (I still view backing-up a trailer as a fundamentally unnatural act; had Nature intended for us to run around backward, our toes and eyes would be pointed the other way.)

To be sure, there were some things I’d forgotten about life on the road. There were a few white-knuckle moments (such as controlling something that big and that heavy while descending a 6% grade—without setting the brakes ablaze), and several “Oh, yeah…fergot all about that” re-adjustments to be made, but it’s gone okay. After some initial awkwardness, I settled into it.

One of the more pleasant re-revelations would surprise most folks. In a world where common courtesy has become decidedly un-common, it’s my genuine pleasure to report that it still does indeed exist; one simply need look in what most would consider an unlikely place.

And what might this last bastion of civility be?

A truck stop.

Yes. Really. In fact, every truck stop (and there have been hundreds) I’ve ever been in.

When’s the last time you were about to enter a store, for example, and the uncaring oaf ahead of you let the door slam in your face?

I’ve never — never — not even one time had that happen in a truck stop.

I’ve seen drivers twist themselves into pretzels and nearly fall flat on their faces trying to hold the door open for someone when they realized a little late that there was someone behind them. They’ve patiently waited for me when my hands were full, holding open the door and saying something like “Take yer time, driver; it’ll still be here” when I’ve rushed to take advantage of the seemingly small mercy of making things just a little easier for one’s fellow man. I’ve seen guys open the door for another driver and tell them to enter first. “I’m done for the day; why don’t you go ahead of me? You still got a ways to go.”

How this phenomenon developed is a mystery. I’m reminded of a scene from the story Monte Walsh wherein a rancher tries to explain to an accountant “the way things work” among cowboys. When the accountant protests that he hasn’t seen these rules written down anywhere, he’s bluntly told: “They’re not written down in some rule-book, you ass. They’re lived.”

So it is with much of what transpires in the trucking world.

These men (and an increasing number of women) spend long, grueling hours in the worst traffic, fighting weather, deadlines, Darwin Award candidates (those would be the idiots with whom they must share the road—but who shouldn’t be driving at all), road construction, dispatchers, load coordinators, shipping agents, and the ever-present eye of law enforcement (including the dreaded Motor Carrier Enforcement legions), grinding-out mile after mile after mile, in an occupation perennially listed as one of the ten most dangerous. They endure gridlock, mechanical failures, late-arriving loads, and a whole host of woes that the consuming public doesn’t even realize are there. They’re generally not well-liked by the public at large; big, noisy, scary trucks aren’t welcome in most places—and neither are their drivers. They get cut-off in traffic and have their lives placed at risk innumerable times throughout their typical workday by people too intent on their own agenda to do things correctly.

But they still manage to keep things remarkably civil—in their own way.

Fellow drivers are addressed simply as “Driver”—be it face-to-face or via a two-way radio. Do something special, and that becomes “Truck Driver.” Do something really extraordinary, and you might find yourself addressed as “Mister Truck Driver.”  Routine chance conversations are almost invariably punctuated by an air of civility that seems from a bygone age.

No, they’re not all angels and choirboys. Far from it, for the most part. We can be mercilessly cutthroat amongst ourselves—but only toward those who deserve it. At the end of the day, if there’s one parking spot left in a truck stop and three trucks are roaming around looking for a place to roost, it’s every man for himself. When a trucker makes a mistake on the road or commits what truckers generally consider an egregious offense, the peer review is immediate and brutal (listen in on Channel 21 of a CB radio sometime—but you might want to shield the kids’ ears). Inept drivers who delay everyone else’s comings and goings in a truck stop are bombarded with abuse (rightly so; they’re interfering with people trying to make a living—a cardinal sin). The five words you don’t want to be launched over the two-way radio at you are: “Driver, what are you doing?” The seven words you really don’t want to hear are: “Driver, what the Hell are you doin’ ?”

Find yourself in trouble, though, and you’ll almost immediately receive help. Want to start-up a conversation in a truck stop? Raise the hood of your truck, scratch your head a few times, give the impression that you’re fiddling with something, and put on your best look of total bewilderment; you’ll have company in a matter of minutes as drivers passing by stop to offer assistance and advice.

It’s an odd community, one where talk of genteel topics such as cotillions is unknown; for overall courtesy, however, it’s one of the more civilized environments remaining.

When I first started driving professionally, other drivers asked why I abandoned the white-collar world to drive a truck. I’d jokingly reply: “Better class of people.”

I still give that response.

It’s no longer a joke.

__________

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Posted in civility, courtesy, professional driver, truck driver, truck stop | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Autumn’s Simple Pleasures

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 15, 2010

The little things we sometimes overlook are often the most cherished.

 

Those who know me also know well my position on seasonal weather and temperature: Warm is good. I despise being cold. I’ve gone so far as to claim that merely looking at Christmas cards induces hypothermia. Managing to survive bone-chilling winters in Korea during my Army years, New England blizzards, and that thirty-something-below-zero insanity in Wisconsin (residing in an eighteen-wheeler, no less) has forever cemented me as a warm-weather guy. I’ve long clung desperately to each warm day of the waning summer—even as leaves begin to fall, heralding the arrival of autumn. Immediately following winter’s last shiver, I’m only too happy to peel-off layers of clothing and let the sweat flow.

As with virtually every rule, however, there are exceptions.

I’m not certain exactly when or why it came to pass (possibly coinciding with the onset of my own autumn years?), but…I’ve come to not only appreciate but actually cherish a number of autumn’s simple treasures and pleasures.

Many of us have fond memories, for example, of the childhood joy of wading through an ankle-deep accumulation of fallen leaves. Ever tried it as an adult? Good therapy, in its own right. (Never fails to bring to mind the lyrics of Justin Hayward’s Forever Autumn: “…through autumn’s golden gown we used to kick our way…”) To slip on a pair of boots and go tromping through the woods is at once invigorating and relaxing, allowing the cool autumn air to clear the mind (this experience is enhanced by having your dogs accompany you).

Speaking of fallen leaves…

Living in a heavily-wooded area, the annual leaf-raking battle has slowly given way to an odd affinity for what once was a seemingly never-ending chore. Not bad exercise, and it’s time well-spent away from televisions and computers. And it carries with it its own reward of instant gratification; unlike planting seeds and waiting weeks to see the result, one can see the immediate fruits of one’s labors. (I should point out here that my basic philosophy regarding physical work echoes Jimmy Buffett’s line that “Any manual labor I’ve done was purely by mistake.” You know those people who seem to live to work? I’m not one of them.) Of course, it’s not all work, anyway; ever had a couple dogs “help” you with raking leaves? Fun stuff.

Having a fireplace brings another set of mixed work/pleasure experiences.

My wife and I are enamored of wood-burning fireplaces. Yes, we know they smell. Yes, they produce soot. Blah, blah, blah. We nonetheless refuse to join the ranks of propane-burners. Sorry, but…the hiss of gas pumped through a pipe simply cannot compare with the familiar crackle of a wood fire. We similarly maintain that no fire is complete without the smell of burning wood (hickory is best). Yes, we’re also aware of the extra work of splitting logs, fetching wood from the stack, scooping-out ashes, and dusting-away the inevitable soot. We insist that it’s all worth it.

All summer long, the fireplace lies dormant, of course. It’s always a little odd, those first few spring evenings when there’s no fire; the room seems dead, somehow. With that first fire of the fall, though, it’s as if the house comes back to life. Moreover, there’s nothing quite so exquisite as stepping inside out of the cold and wandering over to the fireplace. It’s warm. It’s comforting.

My wife from time to time suggests that I get a log-splitter in lieu of dragging-out axe, sledge hammer, wedge, and maul. It’s sound advice.

I’ve never taken it. I won’t, either. At least, not as long as I’m physically able to do the job manually.

Perhaps it’s a touchstone to the past, but there is (even for a lazy guy like me) something uniquely pleasing about swinging an axe or maul, and bringing it crashing down to the equally pleasing sound of a log being split apart. It’s good work. It’s clean, outdoor work, very physical. Superb exercise. And again there’s the instant gratification of seeing immediate results of one’s efforts. (It should also be noted that my wife — notwithstanding that good advice I mentioned — let it be known years ago that watching a man clad in boots, jeans, and a flannel shirt splitting logs just absolutely cranks her up. More gratification.)

Can you recall as a child coming home on a chilly day and being greeted by the aroma of “comfort food” being prepared? A roast, perhaps? Or stew? Chili? Chicken and dumplings? Do you remember the almost immediate feeling of warmth that it provided? That sense of security?

Odds are that hasn’t changed. We still like it. A lot — which, I believe, accounts in part for the enduring popularity of Thanksgiving. (More on that in a moment.)

I should also point out that my wife is the archetypal autumn girl. It’s her favorite season, and from the first cool morning, she envelopes the house with seasonal decorations and a mixture of scents. Bundles of withered corn stalks and bales of hay greet visitors approaching the front door. There’s a cinnamon broom in the dining room. Various scented candles burn frequently, and little cookers filled with aromatic herbs and spices add to the atmosphere. Vanilla and ginger frequently permeate the air. Little gourds and bowls of nuts dot the household, as do displays of preserved leaves, berries, and such. It’s what she does—and she’s very good at it. With the onset of cooler weather, it all makes for a cozy, comforting environment.

It seems appropriate that autumn’s crown jewel — Thanksgiving — should come just before winter’s arrival; sort of like saving the best for last.

My wife has long lamented that Thanksgiving has become a “forgotten holiday.” Oh, sure, we get a couple days off from work, eat too much, watch football, that sort of thing. And then there’s the day after Thanksgiving to mark the semi-official beginning of the holiday shopping madness. Commercially speaking, Thanksgiving is a dud. Beyond the massive amounts of turkey and trimmings sold, it’s a holiday that many merchants would just as soon forget. During the two weeks or so preceding Halloween, there’s a pretty good shot in the arm for business; afterward, though, they’d mostly prefer that everyone just fast-forward to Christmas shopping. Hence, the “forgotten” label.

In response, my better half has doggedly striven to keep Thanksgiving alive. It’s her specialty, and she really does it up big. I can scarcely begin to describe the enormity of her efforts—and I, of course, am the happy beneficiary thereof. And, oh, does the house smell inviting on that day. To be outside on a chilly Thanksgiving morning…splitting logs…grabbing a load of wood and walking back to the house…smoke rising from the chimney…the bouquet of aromas wafting from the kitchen…stepping into a warm house—greeted, of course, by a comfy fire and all those amalgamated cooking aromas increased tenfold. Add-in the family members who stop by, a couple football games, and pie (lots of pie) and you have the makings of a pretty cozy day.

And then comes winter. You’ll forgive me if a avoid the topic, preferring to dwell a bit longer on my acquired taste for autumn.

I vividly recall a morning several years ago. I awoke right about first light, greeted by a mixture of distinctive aromas: the last vestiges of a hickory log still smoldering in the fireplace, fresh coffee being brewed (bless that timer), and fresh-baked bread (yet another timer). I let the dogs out, feeling the crisp autumn air as I closed the door. After pouring myself a cup of coffee, I sat by the fireplace, pausing to immerse myself in the “feel” it all created for me before actually starting the day.

It just doesn’t get any better.

__________

Posted in autumn, Thanksgiving | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Veterans Day

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 11, 2010

A note to my brothers-in-arms…

 Note: This started as a simple email to friends and fellow veterans. Owing to the response I received, I decided to spruce it up a little and include it here. —Jim

To my fellow veterans:

Perhaps it’s because of the times we live in, with troops in harm’s way. Or it might be the still-fresh memory of the massacre at Ft. Hood. Or it could be owing to recent communications with former brothers- (and sisters-) in-arms. Whatever the source, I’m feeling particularly sentimental about Veterans Day—our day—this time around. It always happens, but…for some reason, it’s a stronger feeling today.

Some of you I served with. Some, I didn’t. No matter. I’ve always felt that—regardless of our respective histories—we share something very special. I suspect many of you feel the same.

Some time ago, I was seated at a blackjack table in Tunica, MS. I’d been engaged in sporadic conversation with the young man seated alongside me, and learned that he’d recently returned from his second tour in Iraq. I asked the usual questions (we all know them—right?) : Where are you from? What’s your MOS? How long’ve you been in?

This, of course, revealed to him (we all recognize the signs and subtle signals) that I’d spent time in the military, as well—and in fact we had Army service in common (like I said: We all recognize the telltale signs of a brother-in-arms).

He then surprised me by extending his hand and saying: “Thanks for your service.”

This simple gesture has become common in recent years—and I kinda like it. However, no one had ever said it to me before; frankly, it caught me a little off-guard. Yes, I’d served. My military career was, however, decidedly unremarkable. No hero. Just did my job—like most of us. To be honest, I felt a tinge of humility hearing a “Thank-you” from someone so recently returned from the jaws of Hell.

Almost sheepishly, I grasped the proffered hand and shook it firmly. “No,” I said. “Thank-you. My time was long ago and a helluva lot easier.”

And then he said it.

“You served,” he said evenly, still gripping my hand. “That’s all that matters.”

And the steady, certain look in his eyes confirmed that he’d meant what he’d said.

He was right.

 It doesn’t matter whether we were cooks, grunts, supply clerks, swabbies, wrench-turners, jarheads, or cannon-cockers.

 We served—and that is all that matters. Many…most…didn’t. We did.

 I’m reminded of a Marine Corps recruiting billboard from a few years ago showing a split-view of a young man’s face. One-half was the boyish look he’d borne before he enlisted; the other half was the steel-jawed look that Uncle Sam put on him. The caption was simple: “The change is forever.”

 And it is. It changed us. All of us. And we’ll always be different for it. Regardless of which branch each of us served in or what we did.

 How many times have you sat around swapping lies with other vets when you suddenly became aware of the rapt attention being paid by one of them, those who never took our oath?

 We share a common bond—one that will never be broken. It’s a special fraternity. It’s something that they will never have, nor even completely understand.

 I pity them.

They’ll never know what it feels like.

They don’t know our friendships spawned amid shared adversity, our camaraderie forged by experiences they can’t even imagine. They’ll never know those memories that we won’t—or can’t—speak of except amongst ourselves, our brothers. They don’t understand the particular annoyance we feel when the entertainment superstar of the moment butchers the national anthem at a football game, or why we feel compelled to throttle those in the stands who fail to remove their hats or place their hands over their hearts or at least shut the hell up while it’s being played. They puzzle over why we rail against a giveaway to someone who’s earned nothing, but we’ll give anything—anything—to one of our brothers in need. They’ll never know that bittersweet tug on our heart-strings whenever we hear the mournful strains of Taps being played.

They can’t imagine a wintertime patrol of the DMZ in Korea when you’ve given-up on the idea of ever actually being warm again, settling instead for merely being able to once again feel your toes. They can’t picture an exhausted airman trying desperately to avoid dripping sweat on sensitive avionics components while struggling in desert heat to repair an aircraft for a ground-support mission. They’ll never know the lonely vigil of a sailor standing watch at night, peering into the inky blackness of the North Atlantic. They can’t begin to know fear so deep that you’re no longer certain of having control of your breathing or your bladder as you suddenly realize that there are a lot of people trying to kill you. They can’t imagine your feverish attempts to apply a field dressing, or holding a wounded buddy as his life slips away. They’ll never be able to laugh, years later, as friends reminisce about an over-exuberant celebration in an exotic port after months at sea—that might’ve resulted in a night or two spent in the local jail. They don’t grasp the significance to us of George Orwell’s familiar observation about people being able to sleep soundly in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf—nor do they have any idea that we now and then silently remind ourselves with pride: I was one of those rough men.

Whether you did a two-year stint courtesy of your draft board…or had nothing better to do for a few years after surviving high school…or felt a call to duty…or made a twenty- or thirty-year career out of it…

You served. We served. And whether we like it or not, we retain feelings that get stirred-up from time to time.

We know what it feels like, and sometimes have to choke down some pretty strong emotions. They haven’t a clue as to what that’s all about.

Some might recall that I’ve been waging a years-long battle to try to get people—them—to grasp the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day. It sends me into a slow boil every Memorial Day when I see television and newspaper ads proclaiming: “Thanks to all our veterans!”

I appreciate the sentiment, but…that’s not our day; that day is set aside for those who didn’t return—and blurring the line between the two occasions cheapens their sacrifice.

I’ve probably aggravated a lot of people in attempting to correct that misconception.

This is our day. This is the one we earned when we raised our hands and swore our oaths—when we entered that special fraternity…when we underwent that change that we’ll all take to our graves…when we were bound to one another forever.

Thank-you all for your service. Enjoy your day; you earned it. Go grab the free chow at Applebee’s and Golden Corral and Chili’s, and be appreciative that some, at least, acknowledge your service and sacrifice. Muster-up a dash of humility if a kid comes up to you today and says “Thanks” because a parent or teacher instilled that sense of values. Choke back your tears when the bugler plays Taps during the ceremony at The Tomb (or let them flow; you earned that right, too). Call an old Army buddy (or Navy; you get the idea). Shake hands with fellow vets you know; they’re your brothers-in-arms—and it’s their day, too.

Having now gotten all maudlin, I’ll leave you with one final thought expressed by Rudyard Kipling:

I’ve eaten your bread and salt,
I’ve drunk your water and wine.
The deaths ye died I watched beside,
and the lives ye led were mine.

  

  

 

Jim 

“A veteran is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America’ for an amount of ‘up to and including my life.'”author unknown 

Note: This is a re-posting of an entry from a year ago. I first posted it in my old blog; however, when I transferred everything to this site, some of the formatting was corrupted. In addition, I received several requests from friends asking that it be re-posted for Veterans Day this year. So, I spruced it up again and made a few changes. I hope you all liked it. —Jim 

__________

 

Posted in national defense, national security, patriotism, veteran, veterans day, war | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Democrats’ Reactions to Elections: In Denial, Defiant, or Delusional?

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 9, 2010

Is it that they “just don’t get it” or that they’re that obsessed?

In the aftermath of the drubbing Democrats received in the midterm election, their leaders’ reactions evoked expressions from an incredulous electorate ranging from disbelief to disgust—with a large helping thrown-in of the same fury voters just expressed overwhelmingly with their ballots.

“He just doesn’t get it” seems the most common retort to Barack Obama’s assessment that voters had somehow managed to misunderstand his intentions. Widespread response to (soon-to-be former) Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s defense of her role in ramming through the very policies and legislative efforts that ultimately resulted in the Democrats’ being ousted from scores of posts across the nation has alternated between guffaws and a lot of swearing (though we’ve noted that would-be Queen Nancy has suddenly acquired a taste for bipartisanship—now that her party has been emphatically relegated to the back seat).

“Shove it down our throats now, and we’ll shove it up your (picture of an ass—the equine variety) in 2010” was a common warning during the epic arm-twisting that was Obama’s push for his brand of health care. Democrats ignored the warning. Some even ridiculed it (recall Pelosi’s snarky dismissal as “Astroturf” the grassroots uprising that was born). They laughed.

They’re not laughing anymore.

The prospect of forty-years’ dominance of government by Democrats confidently predicted by strategist James Carville after the 2008 election has been obliterated. The seemingly invincible Obama juggernaut is staggering, stunned by a thunderous right cross that few other than the most optimistic Republican pundits forecast. Even now, wary Democrats (particularly in the Senate—where twenty of their members are up for re-election in 2012) are very carefully charting their courses for the anticipated onslaught of what they see as hordes of Republican visigoths intent on dismantling as much of the preceding two years of Democratic rule as they possibly can. And Obama himself is damaged—perhaps beyond repair—with his aura of invincibility shattered and his once-powerful coterie of congressional supporters joining the voters in jumping ship.

Even fellow Democrats have joined the chorus of criticism, with failed Florida gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink appearing to encapsulate the problem. She paints a picture of an Obama regime that completely disregards what it’s told, intent on its own agenda. In particular, she pointed out the badly-handled Gulf cleanup effort wherein the administration turned a deaf ear to state and local officials. Sink was also especially critical of the White House for refusing to acknowledge public resistance to the health care “reform” with which Obama seems uniquely obsessed.

And against this backdrop the Democrats’ standard bearer can muster no better response than to say that we all misunderstood him. One might infer that he’s saying it’s all our fault for being too stupid to appreciate the genius behind his concepts—much as Bill Press said. (Way to win ’em over, Bill.)

Right.

To the contrary…we got the message—loud and clear. We repeatedly replied—loud and clear.

Obama and his minions heard us—loud and clear.

And they summarily dismissed us.

They’re not tone-deaf, at all. They simply don’t give a damn what we think or what we want. They know what’s good for us—and they’re hell-bent on forcing it upon us.

Obama maintains that he merely has to re-package his message. That’s all. (Is he telling us that—or still trying to convince himself?)

Ri-iiiiight.

Obama’s real problem is that he seems to have believed as Gospel the flowery praise heaped upon him by the mainstream media. It should not be forgotten that he got elected more on charisma and voter discontent than on substance. He has never demonstrated political brinkmanship; he’s never had to, owing to the huge numerical advantage he had in Congress—which he wielded as artfully as a cudgel.

And now he’s going to stick with a proven loser, no longer in a position to twist arms with impunity, pinning his hopes yet again on ideas that voters just overwhelmingly rejected.

Let the 2012 election season begin.

__________
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Posted in ballot, election, mainstream media, obama, ObamaCare, Pelosi, politics, tea party, vote | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Prodigal President Soundly Spanked

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 3, 2010

The voters took away his car keys; so…now what?

Shortly after his inauguration, Barack Obama fired-off a few terse comments at Republicans:  “Elections have consequences”…”That’s why we have elections”…and (my personal favorite) “I won.”

Having thus spake, he made clear far in advance that he now knows what to expect in the wake of yesterday’s election debacle.

As Joe Biden might put it: This is a big f– – – – – g deal.

Not as big as Republicans (and sensible voters everywhere) had hoped for—but still big.  Very big.

The message sent to the Obama regime (sent—but not likely to be well-received) was clear: We ain’t happy—and you’re to blame.  It was a repudiation of Obama’s agenda, with scores of Democrat whipping-boys bearing the brunt of the voters’ wrath.  The numbers clearly show voter disapproval of ObamaCare and cap-and-trade.  Had the Democrats been pushing weak candidates, the message might’ve been less concise; however, many longtime incumbent Democrats were sent packing—and those who backed Obama’s unpopular policies fared the worst.  Obama himself suddenly seems about as embraceable as plutonium, and survival-minded Democrats appear to have been prescient in distancing themselves from him during the weeks preceding the election.  Indeed, Obama’s intense campaigning seems to have been ineffective (if not harmful) in most key races; those nine trips he took to Ohio attempting to bolster relatively popular Governor Ted Strickland, for example, became instead an embarrassment as John Kasich won a close contest that many see as a bellwether.

That’s gotta hurt.

Nor could this be seen as merely a reactionary “throw the incumbents out” election, as incumbent Republicans in fact enjoyed widespread success.  Moreover, Republicans fared well in contests for open seats both in Congress and in a record number of gubernatorial contests.  Those two indicators pretty well establish this as more of a “throw the Democrats out” election.

Where does this leave us?

Well, the Republicans captured solid control of the House of Representatives, and the Democrats’ hold on the Senate is now tenuous.  The Democrats’ majority is a slim one, and there’s much doubt as to how many of their “majority” will toe the party line; in particular, their most high-profile victor of this election — Joe Manchin of West Virginia — is seen by many as more of a Republican than many Republicans are, having already denounced both ObamaCare and cap-and-trade.  Moreover, Democrats in both houses who survived the massacre are now faced with re-assessing their own stands on key issues—making Congressional support of Obama’s agenda somewhat less than reliable.  (With twenty Senate Democrats and only ten Republicans up for re-election in 2012, the message delivered via this 2010 election will reverberate for a long time; having had a glimpse of what may be in store for them in two years, who’s likely to drink the Obama Kool-Aid with such a likely fate awaiting?)

The Tea Party contingent played a role (much to the consternation of the Democrat leadership), but it was a mixed message.  Some Tea Party-backed candidates (most notably Senator-elect Rand Paul of Kentucky) ran well, but losses by their highly-publicized candidates in Delaware (Michelle O’Donnell) and Nevada (Sharron Angle) in races that many felt should have been easy pick-ups by Republicans helped Democrats retain Senate control.  (Still, it’s pleasant to visualize soon-to-be former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi choking on Astroturf.)  It’s clear that Republicans need to take seriously their input, and make adjustments to party stances accordingly.  The newly-elected Tea Partiers are likely to exert pressure to control spending and taxes—and the Republican leadership would be well-advised to listen.

The runaway spending has to stop.  Period.  If no other message came across from this election, that one has to.

The Democrats’ ever-expanding dream of an ever-expanding government must also be reined-in.  The people are beyond simply being wary of government intrusion into business, finance, medicine, and (especially) into our everyday private lives.

In short: Less government is better government.

True to form, Democrats are already murmuring about the coming gerrymandering (you know: the gerrymandering that they had planned to control—but that control was largely lost with the ascension of all those Republican governors) of district lines, proving once again that they can get in that first punch ahead of Republicans with disturbing consistency.  (One can only hope that Republicans will eventually learn.  “Get there firstest with the mostest,” counseled Nathan Bedford Forrest—a lesson Democrats long ago embraced.)  With the imminent re-apportioning of congressional seats and the inevitable re-drawing of district lines, GOP governors will be able to influence the political landscape for years to come.

And what of our favorite flagellant—the manchild-in-chief?  Will he take this to heart and mend his ways?

Don’t count on it.  It’s far more likely that he’ll “double down” (in the current parlance) and merely adjust the means by which he tries to force-feed us his agenda.  For now, anyway.  It’s doubtful that his prodigious ego will allow him to do otherwise.  If Republicans have learned nothing else since the 2008 election, they should’ve at least concluded that the only way to do business with Obama is from a position of strength.  They’ll have to ram their agenda down his throat—just as he has force-fed us all since his ascendancy to the White House.  He’ll never play ball unless there’s a gun placed to his head.

With this election, Republicans acquired such a gun.

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Posted in ballot, budget, cap-and-trade, debt, deficit, economy, election, federal bail-out, health care costs, health care reform, illegal aliens, manchild, obama, ObamaCare, opinion, Pelosi, politics, Reid, stimulus, vote | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Who Would REALLY Benefit from Voter “Amnesia”?

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 1, 2010

There’s much that Obama would have us forget, too.

Hip-deep in his perpetual campaigning, Barack Obama derisively pointed out to voters last week that Republicans were pinning their hopes on the electorate’s suddenly developing “amnesia”—then reiterated once again his oft-repeated claim that responsibility for everything currently going awry anywhere in the known universe should be laid at the GOP’s feet.

As usual, there was a modicum of validity to the manchild-in-chief’s assertion; after all, has there ever been a political candidate who didn’t wish the voters would forget about something?

Obama should keep in mind, however, that there’s also much that he would like to erase from the voters’ collective memory. Though not actually running for re-election himself, the imminent midterm election is very much a referendum on his record—and the outcome is crucial to his future plans. To a candidate who won the preceding election owing largely to voter vacuity, the continued cluelessness of the electorate is of inestimable value.

Our manchild-in-chief would much prefer, for example, that we not remember the intense pressure brought to bear by his regime to ram through his unpopular ObamaCare travesty far enough in advance of this election that we wouldn’t remember the promised transparency that turned to occlusion. We’re likewise expected to forget the behind-the-scenes deal-brokering and outright bribery that made his showcase legislation possible, notably the “Cornhusker Kickback” and the “Louisiana Purchase.” It’s supposed to fade from memory that the prohibition on using federal funds for abortions was inexplicably left out of the grand health care reform legislation, a claimed oversight that Obama promised to correct via executive order (the order was in fact issued—but it now seems to have less in the way of teeth than was claimed at the time signed it).

Though Obama has stubbornly clung to his habitual hammering of his predecessor for the nation’s economic woes and rising employment, the simple fact is that his own profligate spending (you remember: the spending that he insisted was necessary to hold unemployment under eight percent) has buried us under a mountain of debt from which we may never recover—and unemployment has now crept perilously close to ten percent.

He would dearly love for us to forget all about the problem of illegal immigration and his own scandalous refusal to secure the nation’s borders. (How very curious…we haven’t heard a word about “comprehensive immigration reform” for a few weeks—have we?) He’d like us all to forget that his response to the chaotic border situation was to sic his Justice Department on the state of Arizona for daring to do what he refused to do. He wants us to forget all about the efforts to secure amnesty for some twelve million future Democrats illegal immigrants.

It’s supposed to slip our minds that our first “post-racial” chief executive has in fact fanned the flames of racism. We’re supposed to no longer recall the specter of New Black Panther Party goons convicted of intimidating voters in Philadelphia—only to be sent on their merry way by Obama’s Justice Departmant, which inexcusably declined to pursue the case. We’re supposed to conveniently forget Obama’s own rash (and obviously incorrect) berating of the Cambridge Police Department and Sgt. James Crowley—who, as it turns out, hadn’t acted so “stupidly” as Obama had claimed. We’re supposed to not notice when he manages to find that “Negro dialect” that Harry Reid said he lacked—when he’s busy whipping-up support among a black crowd by creating an “us-versus-them” atmosphere.

We’re supposed to forget about the steady procession of tax cheats, avowed communists and socialists, and far left-wing whack-jobs he’s welcomed to his regime. We’re supposed to forget the blatant power grabs and attempts to exert direct government control over banking, manufacturing, communications, and the media (it’s telling when Helen Thomas — hardly a conservative icon — criticizes the administration for doing so).

He would like for many of us to forget how badly he needs to emerge from the midterm election with Democrats controlling Congress — though he’s quick to remind those who voted for him in 2008 that it’s essential for them to keep the faith, as he needs that power base “to continue with my agenda”…whatever his agenda may comprise. (His obsession with secrecy and hidden deals leaves us constantly guessing.)

We’re expected to forget all about the vacations, travel, and high living that his regime is enjoying at taxpayer expense while much of the nation struggles just to make ends meet. We’re not supposed to remember the unprecedented arrogance shown by himself and his henchmen. We’re expected to forget the tax that isn’t a tax, then is, then isn’t—depending, it seems, entirely on what our narcissistic dear leader is trying to pull at any given time. He wants us to forget the political thuggery that Democrats have freely exercised from the moment they grasped the reins of government.

Let’s hope enough of us have better memories than he gives us credit for.

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Posted in ballot, border security, budget, corruption, debt, deficit, economy, election, federal bail-out, health care reform, illegal aliens, immigration, immigration reform, manchild, media corruption, national security, obama, ObamaCare, politics, Reid, stimulus, tax, unemployment, vote, waste | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »