Thursday, September 10, 2009

musings on Obama

I’ve taken a little heat from a few friends over my position on Obama’s speech to schoolchildren this week. I hope we can move along and get along.

To use a cliché, conservatives need to learn better how to pick their battles. I don’t think one speech to some school-kids is going to make or break a Presidency.

Who knows what Obama might have said had this event not been picked up on somebody’s radar. I’m told things were changed. Teleprompter copy was re-written. Curriculum was modified.

Don’t know. I read the proposed curriculum last week when I first heard about it. I didn’t find anything offensive or problematic to me.

But one good thing may have come from all this attention; I imagine many parents are clueless about what their kids are taught or do all day in school. If this got them to start paying attention and wanting to know more, then good.

I heard someone say that students were asked to pledge their lives to Obama. That’s stupid. Obama didn’t say that. The Dept. of Education didn’t say that. Maybe a teacher somewhere did something like that and if so, they should be fired or disciplined. What I’ve been able to find is an account of a teacher putting up Obama’s picture while students say the pledge to the flag. I guess there was also some sort of Hollywood thing with actors etc. pledging support or whatever for Obama.

But today’s entry is about moving on and how to move on.

Another blogger I follow (Brett McCracken - had this:
“If he (Obama) could give a speech tomorrow night (the one last night on health care) in the tone of his speech today to the students, this country would be much better off … It’s a good speech, I recommend it to everybody if you have any doubts.”

From none other than Newt Gingrich on the Today show.

I already had in mind to look back to 1992 and 1994 when things started brewing again on the conservative front. Clinton was young, new and liberal. He had plenty of ideas that were quite the policy shifts from the Reagan era and Bush 41.

I can’t speak for the tone of talk radio back then. The Internet was just getting going so the amount of commentary was reduced and available mostly on radio or mainstream media. There was no Fox on cable yet (not until 1996). CNN had been the new news force for only a few years.

But in the midst of all this a congressman from Georgia stepped up and organized a campaign to start from the bottom-up toward winning back the White House. It began with the Contract with America. The early results were that in 1995 the GOP regained a majority of seats in Congress while a Democrat was still in the early years of his Presidency.

Why all this arcane history? I don’t really care for Newt Gingrich but he has a sharp political mind and he probably more than anyone brought back the conservative movement. There was hope.

History will tell whether this was a success or not and I’m not here to debate that.
My point – which I am taking a long way around the barn to get to – the GOP has no strategy or leader right now who can bring about this type of change again. If there is a strategy it seems to be shrill and critical and not constructive. (I started this before Obama’s speech on Health Care – Rep. Joe Wilson only serves to prove some of my point.)

I wouldn’t call the Contract with America exactly starting at the bottom or grassroots but it was a beginning.

What do we have with the GOP right now? Who speaks for the conservatives? I can’t think of a single voice right now that I think speaks for me and my values and concerns.

I saw Rick Santorum on the news and was reminded of this once bright star in the political spectrum but then he got beat in his home state and I don’t think I’ve heard much about him since. John Boehner? Who the heck is he? I guess he is the GOP leader of the House but I only saw his name for the first time today. Ms. Palin somehow keeps herself in the news but like so many moths and so many flames …

The GOP, conservative and like-minded folks need to start working from the bottom-up, not top-down. You don’t have to like Obama or any of his policies, ideas or politics to still grant him the respect due the office.

I never really cared for Clinton. Look at his baggage – purported affairs, Travel-gate, Vince Foster, Monica – OK enough of that. But he still was our President (for a time) and who knows how history will treat him. And you know what else? We survived for 8 years.

So far Obama may have made mistakes – possibly plenty re: the stimulus, health care proposals, et al but he isn’t stupid.

Much was made over Rush L’s wish that Obama would fail. I really, really hope Obama succeeds. We owe him that much. Like it or not he creamed our guy. (OK he wasn’t really my guy and much like 1996 with Dole – I really thought and hoped we could do better than that. Guess not.) We are going to live in the country he creates for the next four or eight years so we better hope (and pray) he does it right.

So I guess a point finally would be this: The GOP needs to come up with a plan. Find some great or even good people. Start getting them elected to local offices from where they can climb (if they so aspire) to higher offices. Do this in not only in the red states, cities and towns but in the blue ones as well. Especially in the blue ones. Right now more voting people are blue than red and unless some of them come over …

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