Saturday, August 09, 2008

The John Edwards Affair

You know, I really don't care that John Edwards had an affair. What does bother me is that he lied about it.

It's my belief that anyone who has an affair is missing something in their lives. Perhaps the couple have grown apart, maybe there is an intimacy issue, maybe one is a day person and the other a night person. It might be an actual problem in the marriage or it might be that person just thinks something is missing. There are so many reasons why someone begins an affair that I won't even begin to try to figure it out. The cause, whether real or perceived, is between the couple, the one who cheated and the one who didn't. I don't know. I never felt the need to look outside my marriage, so I'm only offering opinion here.

When Edwards went public with his admission on Nightline, he said that being a candidate, a public figure, made him narcissistic; that he felt he could get away with anything. But he found out he couldn't. It was a lesson apparently only recently learned as it wasn't long ago that he was still denying it. I have to believe that he only went public because The National Enquirer would be coming out with proof of his affair that he could not repudiate, so he beat them to it. Sorry, John. Too little, too late.

I noticed something when I watched clips of Edwards' appearance on Nightline. He said he made a "mistake" in 2006. He said he confessed to his wife Elizabeth and to God about his "mistake". I admit that I never saw the full interview, I wish I had. The clips I saw never saw him say "I had an affair" or any words to that effect. In his press statement he referred to a "liaison", not an affair. Apparently, he still hasn't fully dealt with what he did. He further says that the press, and I suppose the public, can beat him as much as they want, they can't beat him up any more than he has already beat himself up. When he can say the words, in public, "I had an affair" or "I cheated on Elizabeth" he can start to quit beating himself up. The healing can begin.

It's also my belief that most people will lie about an affair because they know it's wrong. Why else lie? They don't want to admit doing something that could mean the end of their marriage. At the every least, the end of the the trust of their marriage partner. It has to be one of the most hurtful things a person can go through. I would imagine that the self-confidence and self-esteem of the loved one has to go through the floor. And it might be a long time before it can begin to return to what it once was. The one who was cheated on has to wonder why? Why did my loved one do this? Is it me? What did I do? What didn't I do? Why?

In the Edwards case, it's compounded by the fact that Elizabeth Edwards is suffering from cancer. At the time of the affair, she was apparently in remission, and has since been diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer. My thoughts and prayers go out to her and the Edwards family to give them courage and comfort during a horrible time of their lives.

Then John went and made her situation worse by having an affair. I don't know why. I don't even care why. The fact that the cancer was in remission means nothing to me. I think it's reprehensible to do such a thing while his wife is fighting for her very life, even if it was in remission at the time. Can you imagine dealing with a cheating husband and the plummet of self-esteem and self-confidence that has to go with it, then finding out you have an incurable form of cancer?

What is even worse to me, is that he lied about it. Yes, I know, it's "only sex", it's not a big deal. Well, I thought so too, until I heard Cal Thomas on Fox News Watch say to another panelist who also said they didn't care about the affair, is that you should care, because if they will lie about that, what else will they lie about?

Let's first remember that this affair happened in 2006. Edwards says it was short lived and over well before he began his run for the presidency. Yes, he mounted a campaign for the office of the President of the United States, based on family values and honesty. At first blush, it sounds like he was being rather hypocritical, but remember that this was after he had confessed to his wife. They may have mended the fences in the marriage that led him to think an affair was somehow acceptable.

Now, as I said, I don't really care that he had an affair. That's between the Edwards'. I don't like that he lied to the public about it. I've said for a long time, that if politicians (in particular, everyone else in general) would just admit that they've done something wrong, and show they are sorry for what they've done, it becomes a non-story, they are forgiven by the public and their careers are saved. It's the lying about it that really gets them in trouble.

Before anyone asks if I am as honest as I want others to be, the answer is no, I'm not. Then why should I expect, or even ask, that others be more honest than I claim to be? Because these are the people who ask that we trust them to lead us, and our nation. They ask that we put our country, our lives, our futures and the lives and futures of our children in their hands. We look to them to be leaders. They campaign on truth and honesty and values, and because of what they say, we expect them to be what they profess to be. We expect them to obey the laws of the land and of society.

It's when they are found out and lie about it, that they show themselves to be less than the leaders they wanted us to believe them to be. Right or wrong, I expect our elected officials to be better than I am. I have more respect for a person who can, and will, admit to a mistake up front and out loud than for someone who tries to hide it. Everyone makes mistakes. Not all mistakes have to be publicly admitted. But when you are a public figure, your mistakes are not like mine. When your mistakes are found out, even the littlest ones became fodder for the public. And your mistakes can embarrass the entire country.

I do respect Edwards for finally going public with his admission. Admitting a mistake is not easy for anyone, and one of this nature is so personal. Not only that, but he campaigned on a platform of values. During his campaign, a poll was done asking which of the candidates and their spouse seemed to the be happiest. Guess which couple was the "winner"? Yeah...John and Elizabeth Edwards. Ironic, considering what we now know.

I would have more respect if he had admitted it from the beginning, showed remorse for his actions, and then went on to prove he's worthy of regaining the respect of the people of believed in him. But even more important, the respect of his family.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Professor Obama, Slacker

The New York Times reports today that in the 12 years Sen. Barack Obama spent teaching at the University of Chicago Law School, he never completed a single work of legal scholarship! Richard Epstein, a former Obama colleague and one of the most influential legal scholars alive, observed that "His entire life, as best I can tell, is one in which he's always been a thoughtful listener and questioner, but he's never stepped up to the plate and taken full swings." Could it be that the candidate of Hope! and Change! was concerned the content of his writing might come back to haunt him later in his political career? Or maybe he was too busy running five political races during his twelve years there? Most likely, it was both: Obama spent every moment scheming plots for higher office.

from Laura Ingraham


I've been thinking a lot about how McCain can use Obama's excellent adventure tour to his advantage. At his next campaign event, McCain should say something like this: "My friends, after watching the Obama campaign during the past week, I can confidently conclude that my opponent wants to be president of the world. I'm running to be president of the United States. Barack Obama just returned from speaking to his constituents in Europe. My constituents are right here."

News flash to all the people wondering why Obama is so popular in Europe: Obama is loved by so many there because the Europeans think he's one of them. He's too cool to be one of those ugly cowboy Americans. They believe an Obama presidency will diminish America's supremacy in the world. They think President Obama will shrink our military, limit our energy use, and eventually, sign on to the Euro elite vision of a world without nation states. They're salivating over the prospect that America become just another member nation who's views and values aren't considered any better than any other country's.

The throngs in Berlin, who weren't just there for the free beer and music, believe that after four years of Obama, the United States will be weaker than it is today. That is why they like him so much.

The elites worldwide don't trust the American people and are determined to force us to obey global rules. They know that Obama is on board with this program. The Europeans won't have to work harder that way to keep up with us. The Chinese won't have to fear an America opposing their global ambitions. The Russians won't have to worry about Obama standing up to their international bullying. And the elites in our own country are confident that Obama will help them promote a post national global identity.

The only people who will really suffer under this world view are the plain old ordinary Americans who cherish our country's sovereignty and independence. They will see their standard of living decline relative to the rest of the world under this whole regime. This is all part of the crusade for global economic justice. The so-called rich in the United States should be forced to give to the less fortunate around the world.

This stuff wins rave reviews in the foreign press, but I think it could all backfire here at home. John McCain needs to remind voters here that he'll fight aggressively for American security, American values, and the American worker, even when doing so offends the Europeans. This will allow McCain to reclaim the patriotic high ground that has helped Republicans dominate presidential politics for the past 40 years.

Laura's E-Blast
July 28, 2008

Monday, August 04, 2008

Republicans' Debate in the Dark
by Rep. Tom Price and Rep. Mike Pence
Posted 08/03/2008 ET
Updated 08/04/2008 ET

The U. S. House of Representatives is admired and revered around the world. It is often referred to as the most deliberative body in the world, the ‘People’s House.’ At the end of each legislative day, every member of the House has the privilege and right to take to the well or podium and ratify with action and validate with deed one of the core dreams of our founding fathers: freedom of speech. Each member may speak for up to five minutes on the topic of their choosing, representing their constituents in the most unadulterated, pure manner -- unfiltered First Amendment.

So when confronted with a misguided democrat majority party and Speaker Pelosi -- from our perspective and that of the majority of the American people -- who ignored the will of the people and adjourned the House for a five week vacation without addressing the most important issue of our day, the rising price of gasoline -- we felt it important to organize a number of our colleagues to commit to take advantage of their right and speak for five minutes on this injustice on the final day of this Congressional session until September 8th.

Consequently, last Friday at about 10:45 a.m., with the House poised to adjourn, we had nearly 100 members of the Republican conference ready to speak -- ready to give breath to our founding document - ready to advocate on behalf of the roughly 700,000 constituents who sent them to Washington. Once Speaker Pelosi and the Democrat leadership got wind of this, they would hear nothing of the sort. True to form, they passed an ultra-partisan adjournment motion, objected to by virtually every Republican member. Its passage would end the ability for anyone to officially speak. Republican leader John Boehner valiantly sought recognition to keep the floor open. But NO -- not for this crowd in charge. Steny Hoyer, the Democrat majority leader -- moved that the House adjourn, and it was so….

Except we weren’t ready to leave. We had members waiting to fulfill their duty, waiting to honor their oath, waiting to present their best vision of our future.

As the mace was taken down from the rostrum, signifying the end of business in the House, as aides were cleaning up the chamber for a five week vacation, as guards were preparing for an early day off, we decided that the best of America -- her people -- deserved attention and voice.

In spite of an official adjournment, we spontaneously agreed to demonstrate our passion for America and resolve of representation by beginning our comments to those gathered in the chamber.

Initially the public gallery had about 20 percent of the seats occupied, primarily with tourists. When Georgia Congressman Lynn Westmoreland began our efforts, we weren’t certain what would ensue -- what we did know is that the American people expect more from their leaders than the, now routine, heavy-handed tactics of Speaker Pelosi and her liberal Democrat leadership.

Shortly after we started, Democrat aides came and removed the ‘official’ water cups, the lights were dimmed, the C-Span cameras turned off, and the microphones silenced.

These acts of arrogance by those in charge only increased our resolve. Arizona Congressman John Shadegg found the secret to getting the mics back on -- which lasted for only a few minutes until a guard was ordered to come and turn them off again. More inspiration!

Of course the House chamber was first opened in the 1860s, prior to the advent of electronically amplified speech, so the acoustics are quite good. At one point the Speaker reportedly sent word to close the press gallery (so that there would be no reporting of this unusual occurrence to America). This necessitated keeping a member of Congress physically in the press area so that members of the Fourth Estate could serve as witnesses to history.

Each action meant to blunt our resolve and enthusiasm only strengthened each. The public gallery began to fill with excited citizens, knowing they were attending something special. Speech after speech after speech called our guests to action. We knew it was important for all in attendance to spread the word of delinquent Congressional inaction on energy being compounded by the majority muzzling members of the minority.

With each impassioned testimony, the audience became more enthused -- the vast majority supporting our call for a vote on increasing American supply of fuel -- often with chants of “Vote! Vote! Vote!”

The solidarity of action was heart-warming and inspiring -- just like America. The goodness and greatness of our nation is there for all to see -- some simply need their eyes opened. Our responsibility to ourselves, our constituents, our nation, our Founder and our posterity is to tirelessly pursue the expansion of that goodness and greatness.

Last Friday we started our forced vacation by rediscovering the heart of America -- may it beat forever!

On Friday, August 1, 2008, the House adjourned at 11:23 a.m.; we left the floor at 5 p.m. -- after a resounding chorus of ‘God Bless America!'

The following members of Congress lent their patriotism, talent, passion and presence to our effort:

Brian Bilbray, Gus Bilirakis, Rob Bishop, Roy Blunt, John Boehner, John Boozman, Kevin Brady, Paul Broun, Henry Brown, Michael Burgess, John Campbell, Eric Cantor, Shelly Moore Capito, John Carter, Tom Cole, Mike Conaway, John Culberson, Charlie Dent, Mary Fallin, Jeff Fortenberry, Virginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, Wally Herger, Pete Hoekstra, Duncan Hunter, Steve King, Dan Lungren, Don Manzullo, Kevin McCarthy, Thaddeus McCotter, Devin Nunes, Mike Pence, Chip Pickering, Todd Platts, Ted Poe, Jon Porter, Tom Price, Adam Putnam, Bill Sali, John Shadegg, John Shimkus, Adrian Smith, Mike Turner, Tim Walberg, Greg Walden, and Lynn Westmoreland.

Found here
And then, there's this

Dear Friend,

Last Friday, the United States House of Representatives, under Democrat Leadership, adjourned for a 5-week vacation. Normally, no one would raise an eyebrow; however, when the Democrats left, they did so without passing any form of energy legislation. They have left for over a month without doing anything to help lower gas prices. That means we'll see another month of inaction on the energy crisis.

The Democrats left, they turned off the lights, they turned off the cameras and they turned off the microphones. But, House Republicans did not leave. That's right, House Republicans are still here, talking to the American people, demanding that House Democrats come back and ease the increasing burdens on families. Republicans are fighting so that the American people are not left high and dry.

Now, we need your help. Join us by
signing this petition to call on the Democrat Leadership to return to Washington, DC, to pass a bill that will increase American energy supply, open up offshore drilling and eliminate our reliance on foreign oil.

This is supposed to be the People's House. It's unfortunate that the Democrats don't see it that way.

Sign the Petition at today.


Eric Cantor
United States Congressman

P.S. Sign the petition to
Call Congress Back to lower the price of gas.


The above was sent to me in email. I attempted to duplicate the email, but may have missed somewhat. However, the text and links are exact.

It boggles my mind that Congress adjourned in the mist of what they consider a national crisis - the energy situation. I worked Friday when all this happened, as well as the rest of the weekend so I missed all the fun.

The Dems are screaming that we must do something about global warming, the high cost of gas, oil at record levels, but Congress adjourns without even a debate.

It boggles the mind.
Speak Softly, and Carry a Good Tire Gauge McCain Camp's Sight Gag Is Latest Attempt To Rebut Obama and Keep Voters Interested
August 5, 2008

RAPID CITY, S.D. -- Want to measure the progress of the presidential campaign? Look no further than the tire-pressure gauges handed out on John McCain's campaign plane Monday morning.

Mark Salter, the Republican candidate's senior aide known for his gruffness, alerted the traveling press corps that the campaign would be distributing Barack Obama's energy proposal during the short flight. Once in the air, Mr. Salter gleefully handed out tire gauges labeled "Obama's Energy Plan."

The act is the latest in a string of stunts that signal the start of the electoral silly season. With the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics just days away and hordes of voters on vacation, the American public's attention span for politics is minimal at best.

To break through, the McCain campaign has resorted to some unusual push-the-envelope tactics. This week, it's the tire pressure gauges. Last week it was a pair of videos: a television ad titled "Celeb" that used shots of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton; and a Web clip that spliced footage of Sen. Obama's large rallies with images of Charlton Heston as Moses parting the Red Sea.

Sen. McCain, who is said to put a high value on humorous members of his inner circle, says it's nothing more than a joke. "We're gonna display a sense of humor in this campaign," Sen. McCain said Friday in Panama City, Fla. He added that, should the Illinois senator like to duel, "light sabers is my weapon of choice."

The joking coincided with the McCain campaigners' cries that Sen. Obama had accused them of racism -- arguably the most sensitive topic of the campaign.

Sen. Obama responded Saturday by calling the McCain campaign cynical. Gags like the gauges, his aides say, are examples of Sen. McCain diverting attention from substantive issues.

Even so, the Democrats have taken the bait on each of the charades, perpetuating them. ("While he's focused on Britney and Paris…" began an email from the Democratic National Committee, before segueing into a missive about Social Security payroll taxes.) The back-and-forth over air pressure in car tires picked up traction -- so to speak -- for that very reason.

It started last Wednesday, when Sen. Obama first made the suggestion about tire inflation as an energy-saver during a campaign stop in Springfield, Mo. "We could save all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling, if everybody was just inflating their tires," he said.

The next day at a town-hall meeting in Racine, Wis., Sen. McCain mocked what his campaign dubbed the "Air In Our Tires" proposal. "He suggested we put air in our tires to save on gas," Sen. McCain said. "My friends, let's do that, but do you think that's enough to break our dependence on foreign oil? I don't think so."

The Republicans, with the help of conservative radio talk-show hosts, backed Sen. Obama into a corner by the end of the week. The Democratic candidate finished the week opening up the possibility of offshore drilling -- a potential dramatic reversal from previous stances.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty was the first to the tire-gauge draw. The rumored shortlister for Sen. McCain's running mate pulled it out of his pocket at the opening of a new GOP headquarters in Iowa over the weekend.

The gift-giving continued Monday morning, with the passing-out of gauges to the traveling press and additional deliveries to newsrooms in Washington and an Obama rally in Michigan.

Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor responded with two emails to reporters. One cited the U.S. Department of Energy tip: "Keep tires properly inflated and aligned to improve your gasoline mileage by around 3.3%."

Mr. Vietor also found a NASCAR press release from 2006 that supported the theory and distributed that as well. The piece, which begins, "Tires are the Rodney Dangerfield of the automotive world…[they] get no respect," carries the headline "Tire maintenance key to safety, fuel economy."

The gag just keeps going. The McCain campaign used it as a fund-raising tool as well, asking supporters to put "Senator Obama's 'tire gauge' energy policy to the test." Donors who shell out $25 or more will receive a gauge of their own.

Future Taxes: McCain vs. Obama?

I received a comment from an anonymous poster (Thanks!) providing a link that this was mostly, if not completely false. I planned to follow up and do some fact checking myself, but Anonymous beat me to it. Be sure to check out the link for yourself.

I may not be an Obama fan, but I also will not allow a post to remain that is factually incorrect without so stating. Since this post been proven to be false, I have removed it. I don't want someone coming along, seeing it, and deciding to use it for whatever reason. I also don't want anyone pointing fingers at me stating that I knowing will post false, inaccurate information. I am leaving my thoughts about the "information" in the post as I believe it is germain to conversation about the economy, and taxes, in general.

(deleted text)


Is any of the above true? I don't know; I haven't done my homework yet. But from what I have heard already, I'm willing to believe it. We know that Democrats believe that the only way to increase Federal revenue is to raise taxes while it's been proven that lowering taxes puts more money in the pockets of the citizenry so that they can....what?.....spend!

It's funny, but when I have money I spend it, it doesn't get put into a mason jar and buried in the back yard. Even when I put money in a saving account, it goes back into the economy, it's not left in a bank vault with a sticky note with my name on it.

My money goes to pay bills, buy food, pay the mortgage, and insurance. When I have more money than bills, it's known as "disposable" and I spend it on fixing, improving and upgrading my house, getting my nails done, or buying clothes, or whatever I see fit to buy. I want to put a CD player in my car, upgrade the TV's in my house, and buy new living room furniture. That will come from disposable income.

If I pay more in taxes, I won't have the money to buy things that "generate revenue" through taxes.


"Three Republican congressmen on Tuesday urged President Bush to grant pardons to two former Border Patrol agents, both of whom face more than 10 years in prison for shooting an illegal immigrant as he fled towards the U.S.-Mexico border. 'We are calling on President Bush to take this opportunity to show this Christian charity that he always talks about,' said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.)."
- CNS News, 7/30/08

"The cracks are growing in the Democratic unity dam. And McCain may be on the verge of getting his act together. Sen. Barack Obama needs to step off his 'holier than thou' platform and get his designer shoes dirty. He needs to let voters catch a glimpse of the regular guy who may actually lurk under his veneer of superiority."

- Liberal columnist Bonnie Erbe, writing in U.S. News & World Report (Hat tip to Political Diary)
John Hendrix wrote:

McCain solves his own problem by highlighting Obama's inconsequently foreign policy skill. Obama calls McCain's pointing out Obama's incompetence as "an attack." And Obama is right: McCain is attacking Obama's demonstrated incompetence.

Senator Obama's spokesmen say so frequently that Senator McCain should stick to the issues instead of personal attacks. They said this, of course, again after the "The One" ad.

Senator McCain, or his spokesmen, should emphasize clearly: Senator Obama's naivete, arrogance, lack of experience and lack of qualifications _is_ an issue.
Barak Obama's Campaign Plane

This is an email I received regarding the renovation of Obama's plane between the primary ending and the beginning of the general campaign. There is a link in the email to snopes verifying the renovation.

I know there are people out there smart enough to create email that looks like authentic corporate emails from banks and such, but in reality are phishing links. So, being the sceptical person I (usually) am, I used my bookmarked link to snopes and entered the phrase "obama campaign plane" which took me to the same page. So, I verified the link in the email as well as the email itself. I know that some people consider snopes to be a more liberal leaning site. I don't believe that's true and I haven't found it to be so in my own wanderings around the site. But, that's just my opinion.

As the email had no text other than a suggestion to visit the pertinent snopes page, and snopes doesn't allow copying of it's site, I can't offer anything but the link itself and some photos I found on other sites.

and the original paint job

I remember an episode of M*A*S*H where the issue of (the character) Dr Sidney Freedman not signing his officer's loyalty oath came up. Sidney commented that isn't that the first thing a communist would do is sign the oath to infiltrate the mainstream? The wearing of a lapel pin strikes me somehow as a similar thing. Wouldn't someone bent on doing America harm use, say, or do whatever they found necessary in order to show their "loyalty" to infiltrate the system? I don't believe that the wearing of a lapel pin automatically guarantees that the wearer is a "loyal" American any more than not wearing indicates the person is not.

So, while Obama not wearing a pin bothers me a little, it's not something I am overly concerned about. I will admit that removing the flag from his campaign plane bothers me. I don't think it's the removal of the flag so much as the replacement of the flag with Obama's logo. This is the plane he used on his recent Grand Tour. He was representing the United States, and if he had used a regular commercial plane, I probably wouldn't think twice about the flag not being there.

But, this was his campaign plane which was repainted specifically for the general campaign. And he was campaigning even on his Grand Tour. Yes, even in Europe and in the Mid-East, he was campaigning. But, Europe and the Mid-East don't vote in our elections, you say.

You see, being a politician, and a especially being a candidate for an office such as the President of the United States is a twenty-four hour a day job. No matter what he is doing, he is Mr. Candidate, Mr. Presumptive Democratic Party Candidate, and whatever he is doing is subject to being scrutinized as such. There are ex-pats living in these countries who still vote, and let's not forget the military and their families stationed overseas who vote.

In campaigning overseas, he is presenting himself as presidential material. Some would say that he presented himself already as the President and that the election is a mere formality. I'm not getting into that now. His Grand Tour was to introduce him to the citizens of and, more specifically, to the leaders of foreign nations who will be presumably working with him if he is elected.

So this was a campaign tour, and being so I think he should be proud enough of his country to prominently display the flag somewhere on his plane. I see nothing wrong with a new paint job that represents his campaign. I just wonder about the reasoning behind the removal the flag.

It hasn't been widely reported, at least not so as to make it the sensation that not wearing a flag lapel pin caused. Perhaps that's why it hasn't became the national debate ala the lapel pin.

A vote on drilling? Pelosi says, "Use your imagination."
Posted By Bobby Eberle On August 4, 2008 at 6:47 am

The price of gasoline has hit everyone hard, and now it's time for Congress to act. No, I'm not talking about a "big government" solution... the Congress sticking its nose where it doesn't belong and trying to "blame" someone or something for the ups and downs of capitalism. I'm talking about Congress simply realizing that the laws of supply and demand are at work, and to help bring prices down, Americans need more supply. And we need it now!

Despite the calls from the majority of Americans to increase drilling, which would increase supply and decrease our dependency on hostile Middle Eastern governments, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has sent Congress home for the summer. She is refusing to vote on energy legislation and would rather turn a deaf ear to the voices of the American people. She is not doing her job, and we need a change. You can help...

In an interview this weekend with George Stephanopoulos, Pelosi continued to evade questions about why she won't allow a vote on more domestic drilling. She spoke nonsense to the point where even Stephanopoulos got frustrated. At one point, the exchange went like this:

STEPHANOPOULOS: But why not allow votes on all that? When you came in as Speaker you promised in your commitment book "A New Direction for America," let me show our viewers, you said that "Bills should generally come to the floor under a procedure that allows open, full, fair debate consisting of full amendment process that grants the Minority the right to offer its alternatives." If they want to offer a drilling proposal, why can't they have a vote?

PELOSI: They'll have to use their imagination as to how they can get a vote and then they may get a vote.

Use their imagination? This is the speaker of the House! We need action, not left-wing babble. It's time for President Bush to call a special session of Congress and put Pelosi back to work.

here's the rest of the story
Interview with Nancy Pelosi

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: You've been getting a lot of heat for not allowing a straight up or down vote expanding drilling off the coasts of the United States. Why won't you permit a straight up or down vote?

NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: What we have presented are options that will really make a difference at the pump. Free our oil, Mr. President. We're sitting on 700 million barrels of oil. That would have an immediate effect in ten days. What our colleagues are talking about is something that won't have an effect for ten years and it will be 2 cents at the time. If they want to present something that's part of an energy package, we're talking about something. But to single shoot on something that won't work and mislead the American people as to thinking it's going to reduce the price at the pump, I'm just not going to be a part of it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Except it’s not just Republicans that are calling for this. Members of your own caucus say we must have a vote. Congressman Jason Altmire, let me show our viewers right now, says, “There is going to be a vote. September 30 will not come and go without a vote on the opening the Outer Continental Shelf. The message has been delivered. The issue can't be ignored any longer.” He says he speaks for a lot of Democrats. He's talked to the leadership and a vote must happen.

PELOSI: Maybe it will, as part of a larger energy package. Let's step back, call a halt and put this in perspective. What we have now is a failed energy policy by the Bush/Cheney, two oilmen in the White House. $4 a gallon gasoline at the pump. And what they're saying is let's have more of the same. Let's have more of big oil making, record profits, historic profits. You see the quarterly reports that just came out, who want to be subsidized who don't really want to compete. Let them use the subsidies to drill oil in protected areas. Instead we're saying, free the oil. Use it, don't lose it. There's 68 million acres in lower 48 and 20 million more acres in Alaska where they're permitted where they could drill anytime. This is a diversionary tactic from failed energy policies.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But if you feel you have the better arguments, why not give a straight up or down vote for drilling?

PELOSI: Because the misrepresentation is being made that this is going to reduce the price at the pump. This is again a decoy, it’s not a solution.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, if you’re right, why not let it be debated out and have the vote?

PELOSI: We have a debate every single day on this subject. What you saw in the Congress this week was the war dance of the hand maidens of the oil companies. That's what you saw on the Republican side of the aisle. Democrats and Republicans are not right there on party lines on this issue. There are regional concerns, as well as some people concerned about what this means back home for them. But we have a planet to save. We have an economy to grow. And we can do that if we keep our balance in all of this and not just say but for drilling in unprotected and these protected areas offshore, we would have lower gas prices.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what exactly are you trying to say? You say you might allow a vote as part of a comprehensive package, but you won’t allow a vote on --

PELOSI: We have put on the floor. Free our oil. Strong bipartisan support for that. Use it, don't lose it. Strong bipartisan support for that. End undue speculation, strong bipartisan support for that. We've talked about these things. Invest in renewable energy resources so that we can increase the supply of energy for our country. Strong bipartisan support for that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yet you brought those measures to the floor in a way under the suspension of the rules so that it couldn't be amended with a drilling proposal.

PELOSI: Well, we built consensus and have a strong bipartisan. This is what’s going to make a difference to reduce the dependence on foreign oil, to stop our dependence on fossil fuels in our own country. To increase the supply of energy immediately to reduce the price at the pump to protect the consumer. So this is a policy matter. This is very serious policy matter. It's not to use a tactic of one -- one tactic in order to undermine a comprehensive energy package to reduce our dependence on foreign oil which is a national security issue. To reduce our dependence on fossil fuels in our own country. Now, will we be talking about natural gas that's cheaper, better for the environment --

STEPHANOPOULOS: But why not allow votes on all that? When you came in as Speaker you promised in your commitment book "A New Direction for America," let me show our viewers, you said that “Bills should generally come to the floor under a procedure that allows open, full, fair debate consisting of full amendment process that grants the Minority the right to offer its alternatives.” If they want to offer a drilling proposal, why can't they have a vote?

PELOSI: They'll have to use their imagination as to how they can get a vote and then they may get a vote. What I am trying to, we have serious policy issues in our country. The President of the United States has presented this but for this our economy would be booming. But for this, gas would be cheaper at the pump. It's simply not true. Even the President himself in his statement yesterday and before then has said, there is no quick fix for this by drilling.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Senator Obama has agreed with you. He says, listen. This is not the answer. Drilling is not the answer. But he said over the weekend that he might be willing to sign onto drilling as part of a comprehensive proposal.

PELOSI: What Senator Obama said is what we want a President to say. Let's look at all of the options. Let's compare them. And let's see what really does increase our supply. Protect our environment, save our economy, protect the consumer, instead of a single shot thing that does none of the above. Why we give subsidies to big oil to drill instead of letting them --

STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to move on to other issues. Just to be clear, you are saying you will not allow a single up or down vote on drilling. But you will allow a vote on a package that includes drilling?

PELOSI: No, what I'm saying to you is, as far as I'm concerned, unless there is something that -- you never say never to anything. You know, people have their parliamentary options available to them. But from my standpoint, my flagship issue as Speaker of the House and 110th Congress has been to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and reverse global warming. I'm not giving the gavel -- I'm not giving a gavel away to a tactic that will do neither of those things. That supports big oil at the cost and expense of the consumer.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you’re not going to permit a vote, you may get beat, but you're not going to permit a vote on your own?

PELOSI: Again, we take this one step at a time. But while we're spending all of this time on a parliamentary tactic when nothing less is at stake than the planet, the air we breathe, our children breathe.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But that’s what I don’t understand. If you could get votes on everything else that you care about which you say there is strong bipartisan support, why not allow a vote on the drilling as well?

PELOSI: Because the President will not allow any of these other things to go forth. Why are we not saying to the President, why don't you release oil from the SPR in ten days to have the price at the pump go down? Why are you opposed to any undue speculation in the oil markets? Why do you not insist that people who have leases on our land with permits ready to go use those? The oil companies don't want competition. And what we would do by saying, go ahead, give them the subsidies. Allow them to drill in areas that are protected now, instead of where they're allowed to drill, is to diminish all of the opportunity that we have for an electricity standard for our country. Where we set out standards that makes the competition for renewable energy resources better. Which says to the private sector, invest here because there is a standard that they have to honor. If you just say it's drill, drill, drill, drill and we're going to subsidize it, what is the motivation for the private sector to come in and say we're going to support these renewable energies, wind, solar, biofuels. Plug-in cars. Natural gas and other alternatives.

Although Stephanopoulos never addressed the revolt that happened in the House on Friday when Pelosi adjourned the session for a five week vacation, he is to be commended for doing a fairly good grilling on Sunday.

As for Pelosi, Americans should be embarrassed by her disgraceful performance. If she represents the best House Democrats have to offer at this moment in history, we should all be fearful of the future.

—Noel Sheppard is the Associate Editor of NewsBusters.
Interview with David Freddoso, Author of 'The Case Against Barack Obama'
by Michelle Oddis

Michelle Oddis: Dave, you’re a reporter, not a columnist. You’ve worked very hard to dig into the Obama story. After all this effort -- and several all-nighters -- researching and writing The Case Against Barack Obama, what’s the most important thing people should know about Sen. Obama?

David Freddoso: The main lesson is that Barack Obama’s record, throughout his career, demonstrates conclusively that he has never been a reformer, that this image of “change and hope” that he projects is really a great lie. In fact there’s never been a single time in Senator Obama’s political career where he did something that was difficult and would cost him politically for the sake of needed reforms and change.

MO: Your book focuses a lot on the “Chicago Machine.” Not everyone knows about Chicago’s political corruption. In short, how does it work? And how has Sen. Obama been a part of it?

DF: Just to give a few examples from my book, chapter one discusses at length Sen. Obama’s support for and alliances with Chicago machine politicians, that’s chapters one and two.

The “political machine” is all about using the apparatus of the government treasury, using the taxpayer’s money to keep yourself in power permanently. You put your political cronies on the payroll to help yourself get elected and re-elected and then when you’re in power you get to do things like steer pension funds and investment to benefit your pals. All of this stuff was going on.

Liberals and conservatives had come together and had the Cook County, Illinois machine on the ropes but Sen. Obama did not help them. In fact, he ended up endorsing the machine candidate that year in the competitive general election and called him a good progressive Democrat. In this case he didn’t support the reformer, because to support the reformer in that election, he would have upset all the allies of the machine politician. That would have been against the interests of now-convicted developer Tony Rezko, who was tied closely to the Stroger family. He would have upset Mayor Daley, he would have to upset Emil Jones. So he played along like a good machine politician.

Obama was denounced by a lot of liberals including some big people who were still big fans of his at the time.

Obama’s very much about the old politics, and he’s very much not a reformer. It shouldn’t be a surprise except the only surprise is that he has managed to project this reformer image.

MO: Why do you think the mainstream media hasn’t reported on these stories of Obama’s career in Chicago? Your book references many stories from the Chicago Sun-Times. Why does the national media ignore it?

DF: Well, unfortunately, I think the national media -- which resides largely in New York and Washington and perhaps out West in Los Angeles -- doesn’t look at or read the Chicago papers nearly as much as they should.

Part of the problem is that Chicago’s politics are so dirty that it’s almost hard to believe it’s true. Who would think that a guy who was convicted of stealing $4 million in quarters from Chicago area toll booths would then be given a city job with responsibilities where he could shake down city contractors for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and campaign contributions?

MO: That’s true!?!

DF: Yes, that’s absolutely true. The man earned the nickname “Quarters” because of his earlier conviction. He came out of prison and went right on to the city payroll shortly thereafter. He was part of one of Daley’s political organizations -- the Coalition for better Government -- so he got the job.

This is the way Chicago politics works and Sen. Obama can’t do or say anything to change it because Sen. Obama’s allies, the people who got him where he is today and the people who are going to help him become president of the United States -- they all started the problems.

He can’t speak out against the problems because his friends are the problem.

MO: Lets talk Tony Rezko. Not everyone knows the details of the Rezko-Obama connection. They know it has to do with a land deal and that’s about it…

DF: The problem with it is everyone is focused on this land deal but they haven’t focused on the really big question -- which is why would Sen. Barack Obama end up in a situation where he engaged in any sort of deal like this with a guy who’s entire career has consisted of legally or illegal sponging off of tax payers and corrupting public officials --officials like Barack Obama?

When Tony Rezko wanted something done legally -- say grants from the state and subsidies and cheap loans and that sort of thing -- he knew he could always count on Barack Obama to support those things -- to support legislation that would increase demand for subsidized housing in the Chicago area. Legislation that would make his costs lower, giving him tax breaks and tax breaks for stuff that he was already doing already.

So, their 17 year friendship goes a long way back and it was working relationship where Obama did a lot of stuff in Springfield to help Tony Rezko. And that’s why the two could be close enough friends that they would dine together and spend weekends together at Rezko’s vacation home and why they would happen to buy properties right next door to each other.

Very few people who have been looking at this angle and that’s the real issue with the Tony Rezko business -- what did Obama do for him? Obama said “I did him no favors” but he did do favors for Tony Rezko. In fact, in 1998 -- I believe it’s in Chapter 11 of the book -- in 1998 Senator Obama wrote a couple of letters on Senate letter head specifically asking that the state give grants to Tony Rezko and another developer he is very close with, his former law firm boss. That’s a favor.

MO: Why did you want to write this book?

DF: I wanted to write this book because I was watching several major media figures and respected columnists and journalists just fawn over this guy. It just seems a little bit overboard to me.

I haven’t been in Washington a terribly long time. I’ve been here since 2001 and from what I’ve seen you can’t buy into this idea of politicians as heroes. What exactly has Sen. Obama done that would support this argument as an “agent of positive change?”

If you actually look at Obama’s record the incongruity is actually more obvious because he doesn’t have a record of being a reformer. Reformers don’t vote for the bridge to nowhere and they don’t vote for ethanol and they don’t vote for the farm bill… they don’t consistently support corrupt systemic arrangements in every public office they’ve ever held.

As I was writing this, there were several things I came to know about Sen. Obama that I figured just about everybody else did. One of them was the fact that he first won election to the state in Illinois by getting all of his opponents, including his sitting state senator, thrown off the ballot. And I thought everyone knew this! And as I spoke to more and more very experienced Washington people I discovered practically nobody has heard this even though it’s been in so many newspapers

I felt like a lot of those stories should be told again with as much detail as possible and that I could also find some new things about Sen. Obama that some people just didn’t know regarding his record in Springfield, in Washington and what he’s done in Chicago.

So, that’s why I set out to do this and I think it makes for a good read. I mean, I’ll admit I wrote it myself… I’m not exactly unbiased.