Posts Tagged ‘Obama

03
Oct
08

New York Debate Watch: the metropolitan republican club

First Presidential Debate - The Metropolitan Republican Club

First Presidential Debate - The Metropolitan Republican Club

A stranger in a strange land…

NEW YORK — I’m still reeling from Friday night. I attended the first presidential debate night which was hosted by the Young Republicans at one of the oldest bastions of Republican support for the McCain/Palin ticket in New York City. The Metropolitan Republican Club located in the heart of the Upper East Side of Manhattan, was originally founded in 1902 during the days of President Theodore Roosevelt and established in its current location on 83rd Street in 1930.

Robert Morgan, The current president of the Republican Club started the proceedings with introductions and a reminder to the attendees to ‘keep it down’ during the debate so that both candidates could be heard but that request didn’t even last through his comments which ended with announcements that could be barely heard about other upcoming McCain events in the city including recruitment blitzes at local street fairs that occur in the city throughout the summer. It was a modest muster in comparison to the number in the Obama campaign volunteer rolls throughout the city.

As a field organizer for the Obama campaign, I knew that the evening would test my endurance on multiple levels, still I went in with a relatively open mind, a smidge of reckless feline curiosity and just the right dash of the morose to assure, if nothing else, a lively evening. And for panache, I decided to adopt an alter ego for protection against the red horde. Though I considered, Galilee O’Jesus (which would have certainly raised some suspicion I admit), I instead chose something softer, Gabrielle Peters, in honor of my other personal hero human rights activist, Peter Gabriel as my protective talisman.

And then I was in! There was not even a raised eyebrow from the ladies at the check-in table. I had done it, I had shocked the monkey. I made my way around the room. The event was modestly attended with roughly 100 McCain supporters crowding into the main room on the first floor with a large flat screen television tuned to FOX (shocker!), on one end of the room and the open bar and pizza station on the opposite end. A New York 1 news crew made the rounds interviewing but no other local coverage were in attendance. One supporter I spoke with had gone over to the Republican ticket after previously being a Clinton supporter. When I asked her why she had gone over to McCain she cited the Tony Rezko corruption scandal. I countered with the fact that Rezko also co-hosted a 3.8 million dollar fundraiser at the White House for George Bush but that didn’t seem to matter to her reasoning and she continued down the list of smears now well documented as being false.

By that time, the debate was already well underway and I turned my attention to the coverage. McCain’s angry demeanor grew more and more intense and you might think that I’m kidding but I found it was extremely jarring and even chilling to hear the crowd around me cheer each time McCain interrupted Senator Obama again and again. I gripped my bag firmly feeling utterly disconnected alone in a sea of sheep and stifled the urge to heckle. I sat there wishing that the senator would step in just as forcefully and verbally disarm McCain’s dated rhetoric and now obvious disdain in refusing to even look at Senator Obama. Was he angry at Obama? Was he angry that his week of theatrics leading up the debate had failed miserably? I crossed my fingers but no vociferous volley came back and only after a few days to reflect do I resign myself to the idea that Senator Obama did the right thing. Indeed, as many of the pundits have already reported, Senator Obama maintained his composure, stood his ground and behaved the President I wished for but lost in 2000.

Jax’s coverage at Huffington Post

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15
Sep
08

the old man would have fallen out of his chair

The Honorable Henry B. Gonzales (D. TX) Courtesy The Center For American History

The Honorable Henry B. Gonzalez (D. TX) Courtesy The Center For American History

Curses!  Yet again my efforts to expand my compassionate and even syrupy post on frenemies that was sure to be the last word on the subject and indeed a cracking good read are thwarted by the events now known as Black Sunday and the continuing inherent idiocy of Wall Street.

There was a time and not so long ago that the government would have stepped in and demanded accountability.  60,000 workers worldwide now find that they are out of a job or in danger of losing their job with their retirement assets also in jeopardy.  And today, the DOW was down 500 points in response the fallout of the Lehman Brothers debacle and the Merrill Lynch sell off.  A day of reckoning to be sure and a day for the history books.

When I was wee I had the great good luck of serving as a congressional intern for the Honorable Henry B. Gonzalez (D. TX.)

Gonzalez was selected to chair the Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee in 1989.  Under his leadership, the committee was able to enact several pieces of legislation favoring consumer groups, such as improved credit measures for small businesses, federal flood insurance reform, and increased accountability of the Federal Reserve.  In addition, Gonzalez pushed for strengthening anti-money laundering laws and harsher punishment for bank fraud and other financial crimes.

Throughout the 1980s, Gonzalez warned against the potential dangers of federal deregulation of the savings and loan industry and we see that in evidence today. After his prediction became a reality, he was given the task of structuring the bailout legislation. He accepted the assignment on the condition that those responsible, both in the private sector and their legislative supporters, be publicly recognized for their wrongdoing. His efforts resulted in pressure from a number of his fellow Democrats to resign, but Gonzalez remained true to his cause. In 1991 he was successful in reforming the federal deposit insurance system. During his tenure as chairman, Gonzalez earned a reputation for being a fair leader who allowed equitable participation in the creation of bills while reinforcing his legacy of championing the cause of ordinary people affected by legislation he oversaw.  Gonzalez gained national attention once again in 1992, when he investigated loans made from President George Bush and his colleague James Baker to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.  His investigation showed the $3 billion loans supposedly designed to support Iraqi agricultural projects were actually spent for weapons development.  Gonzalez went on to oppose military action in the Persian Gulf during the 1991 Gulf War.  He even called for Bush’s impeachment on the grounds that through his previous financial support of Hussein the president had eliminated any chance of finding a peaceful resolution.

During his long congressional career, Gonzalez received numerous honors, including the National Alliance to End Homelessness Award, the Texas Civic Leadership Award, the B’Nai B’Rith National Humanitarian Award, the 1992 National Rural Housing Legislator of the Year and the 1994 Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Foundation.

We won’t see his like for a long time to come I’m afraid.  We are stuck with a system that continues to spiral and heads in the sand at this point would be a disaster.  I can’t even bring myself to comment further.  But wait, I’ll try…  The Bush administration has been reckless in its handling of the finance industry.  The recent bail out of Bear Stearns and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should never have happened.  We need more regulation full stop.  It is the lack of regulation that caused this in the first place.   The capital rules are far too lax, and they still are. They may have made sense if you assumed perfectly liquid and smoothly functioning markets, but that is like saying a roof does not leak when it is sunny and mild.  That’s just bad business.  The Dick Fulds of the industry should now be hung up by their Buster Browns or Prada (s) as the case may be.

This being an election year I don’t trust a candidate like McCain who continues to tout the strength of the economy in the face of what is happening today.  Indeed,  shouldn’t the ability to send an email be at the very least the lowest common denominator for world leader?  I ask you.  Nevertheless, this development will test both candidates mettle to produce some real solutions.  After the lessons of the Great Depression have we learned nothing?

I know that if the old man were alive today he would have fallen out of his chair.




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