The Long Shadow of America’s Greatest King

When your birth date falls on the same day as the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday observance you accept the fact that you’re going to have to settle for second billing and like it.   Fortunately, Dr. King is one of my few heroes and sharing my day with him honors and humbles me.

As I have said in the past, King was far more than an action figure with a string in the back that says “I Have A Dream”  when pulled.   That’s too simple and King was far too complicated to be reduced down to a catchphrase.

King was not a popular man at the time of his assassination.   Breaking with President Johnson over the Vietnam War had done more than cost King the best friend the movement ever had in the White House.  He was vilified by the Left and the Right.  Black revolutionaries sneered at his message of non-violence.

But most of all,  King was tired.  Tired of marching. Tired of re-fighting battles that should have already been won.   Tired of being away from his wife and children so much.   Tired of the death threats on his life.

Michael Eric Dyson, scholar and author of I May Not Get There With You,  the account of King’s later years says we should note King cut less than an iconic figure at the time of his death.

[King] was at the low point of his popularity at the time of his death. When Martin Luther King Jr. met his end on that balcony in Memphis, he was indeed at the low point of his popularity for the first time in nearly a decade. He didn’t make the most admired list for the Gallup poll. Very few universities wanted to hear from him. No American publishers wanted to publish a book by him. And he was being questioned, even in African-American culture, for the relevancy of his non-violent approach. Dr. King was facing tremendous odds. His back was against the wall. His resources were drying up within his own organization. He was fighting with a prominent northern board member about whether or not he should speak out against the war in Vietnam and paid the price for it. So, he was facing opposition from within his organization and more broadly from the civil rights movement, and even more broadly from the mainstream American press as well as from public policymakers and politicians in America. He was quite on the outside and outskirts of popularity and acceptance in America. This notion that Dr. King was widely praised is one of nostalgia and of amnesia, and it should be combated.

Some might think it audacious and brazen to call King the greatest American ever.   Shouldn’t that sort of accolade be reserved for presidents and statesmen, not a Baptist preacher?

It is neither audacious or brazen to tell the truth and I have no problem defending Dr. King as a greater transformative figure than George Washington, Abraham Lincoln or Franklin D. Roosevelt.   A listing of the Greatest Americans places King at third, ahead of Washington and just behind Lincoln.  Ronald Reagan was named Number One, so take that as you will (I take it as patently ridiculous).

It is expected that presidents will be–for better or for worse–transformative figures.   For a private citizen to do so the unmeasurable help of millions of dollars backing them up and effecting their change by way of non-violent resistance against the evil of state-sanctioned racial discrimination is almost impossible to fathom.   Bill Gates with all his billions could not have done what King did with shoe leather and faith.

By no means was King the only one marching.   It took the commitment of thousands of like-minded souls willing to be spat upon, beaten, bitten by dogs, and in some cases murdered for their courage to be the change they sought to bring to the world.

Without them and the leadership and inspiration of a Dr. King, the part of the Dream that was realized with the election of Barack Obama does not happen.   Without Dr King there is no President Obama.

There is an urge by some to see Obama as the realization of King’s dream.  I  understand this urge, but it should be resisted. Obama is not so much the manifestation of the Dream as he is the greatest beneficiary of The Dream.   King’s mark on the world is established beyond dispute.   Obama is still attempting to make good on his and like any politician it’s a mixed bag.  “Change We Can Believe In” is hard to bring about when there is a rigid status quo resistant to changing a thing just as Dr King’s dream seemed like a waking nightmare to his opponents.

On MLK Day the man who would be Obama’s replacement praises the preacher man.  Writing on his Facebook page, Mitt Romney says,  “Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an occasion to reflect on the legacy of an outstanding American. Dr. King not only believed in the fundamental truth that we are all made in God’s image, he fought for that truth in a campaign that brought our country closer to fulfilling its historic promise of liberty and justice for all. The United States has made enormous strides toward racial equality in the decades since Dr. King’s death, but we must never rest until all people are judged, in his immortal words, not ‘by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

On the Today Show,  Romney, who got wealthy by shutting down companies and putting workers on the street said all this talk about income inequality was simply “envy.”

“You know, I think it’s about envy. I think it’s about class warfare. When you have a president encouraging the idea of dividing America based on the 99 percent versus one percent — and those people who have been most successful will be in the one percent — you have opened up a whole new wave of approach in this country which is entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God.”

A clueless plutocrat like Mitt Romney could never understand a humble man like King who was motivated by a fierce sense of justice, not personal wealth.  If King were doing in 2012 what he was doing in 1968  Romney would not be mumbling empty platitudes he neither wrote nor believes.   He’d be condemning King as a dangerous radical who wanted to take from the 1 percent and give to the 99 percent.

I Mittens ever read King’s A Proper Sense of Priorities speech he would have ample reason to be scared right down to his silk skivvies.

Someone said to me not long ago, it was a member of the press, ‘Dr. King, since you face so many criticisms and since you are going to hurt the budget of your organization, don’t you feel that you should kind of change and fall in line with the Administration’s policy. Aren’t you hurting the civil rights movement and people who once respected you may lose respect for you because you’re involved in this controversial issue in taking the stand against the war.’ And I had to look with a deep understanding of why he raised the question and with no bitterness in my heart and say to that man, “I’m sorry sir, but you don’t know me. I’m not a consensus leader.  I don’t determine what is right and wrong by looking at the budget of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.  Nor do I determine what is right and wrong by taking a Gallup poll of the majority opinion.” Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher of consensus but a molder of consensus.  On some positions cowardice asks the question, is it safe? Expediency asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience asks the question, is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.

Mitt wouldn’t know a thing about that.  That’s why he isn’t a leader and should never be president.

Dr. King had so much more to say than just “I Have A Dream.” Take two minutes out of your day and get hip to a King many Americans do not know.   The radical Dr. King.  The threat to both racists and reactionaries Dr. King.  The Dr, King that was too dangerous to live.

I could not love Martin more if he were my father.  He inspires me and guides me as much as a father ever has a son or daughter.   This is his day and the legacy of America’s greatest King is far richer and more complex and enduring than a fading memory of a distant figure whose legacy has been watered down to four words.

Saving the Best for Last: The 49ers Shock the Saints

"I am a 49er. Hear me roar!"

The hero of the day in the San Francisco 49ers victory over the New Orleans Saints was tight end Vernon Davis who caught the game winning score from much maligned quarterback Alex Smith.  The 36-32 downing of the high-octane Saints gave the 49ers their first playoff win in nine years and punched their ticket for an appearance in the NFC Championship.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh and the front office deserve all the credit for making the 49ers this year’s most unlikely Super Bowl contender.  Some credit should go to Mike Singletary, the man Harbaugh replaced for being responsible for getting Davis to drop the diva act and tap into his incredible potential.

For a while Davis looked to be just another in long list of first round failures for the Niners.  Nobody questioned if Davis had the talent.  The question was whether he would ever pull his head out of his ass and tap into it..  Singletary was not a good coach.  What he was was an excellent motivator.  Davis was motivated by Singletary and Harbaugh coached him up.

While Smith-to-Davis isn’t a moment as iconic as Montana-to-Clark, give them time.  They had to endure a lot of crap to get to this moment of glory.

My wife and I are 49ers fans going back to “The Catch” which occurred 30 years ago this weekend.

Today we witnessed “The Catch II” or “The Grab” as some have dubbed Smith’s TD pass to Davis. Whatever the hell you want to call it after nearly nine years or wandering in the NFL wilderness, it feels really good to return to being a relevant team again..

I respect the Saints and I’m not going to lie: I expected them to win.  I felt the Niners had a chance to throw some blows and go toe-to-toe with the Saints’ explosive offense.  Drew Brees is crazy good, but I also thought if the Niners had to deal with the Saints, that was fine.  They had to deal with us too.

If this had been in the Superdome, I’m not sure the Niners would have won.  They worked hard to secure that home field advantage over the Saints and it paid off in full.

The cherry on top is how satisfying it is that this the Saints/49ers was merely supposed to be the opening act for the main event of Tom Brady vs. Tim “Touched By An Angel.”  Tebow in primetime.   Nobody pimped this game harder than ESPN. They have been riding Tebow’s dick even more than they were Brett Favre.  I didn’t think that was possible, but ESPN’s saturation coverage and endless hero worship proved it was.

Joke’s on you, ESPN.  There was only one football game that was Must See TV and it wasn’t in Foxboro.  Brady demolished Denver and sent Tebow packing until he can plan his resurrection next September.

I have nothing against Tim Tebow personally.  He seems like an earnest young man who loves playing football and giving the glory to Jesus Christ, but I watch football because I enjoy the sport.  I don’t want anyone’s religious beliefs up in my face.

Anyone remember Reggie White? He was religious, very conservative and after the game he would gather with players from both teams and pray. But White didn’t make a show of his faith. Tebow does and that’s annoying as hell.

It only took seven years for Alex Smith to get San Francisco to fall in love with him.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Reggie White was one of the greatest of all time at his position and a Hall of Famer. The only way Tebow gets in the Hall of Fame is if he waits in line and buys a ticket.

Enough about losers that are not longer relevant.  The Niners are moving on and the Saints and Broncos are cleaning out their lockers.  For the past nine years it’s been the other way around.   I don’t know who the Niners will match up against next Sunday, but I know they’re playing and that is something I haven’t been able to say since they were rolling up Super Bowl wins.

These 49ers are not the 49ers teams of Montana and Young.  They lean on playing stout defense, capitalizing on the other team’s mistakes while minimizing their own turnovers.   Frank Gore pounding the rock between the tackles is how Harbaugh prefers it instead of Alex Smith strafing secondaries with his arm.   It’s not glamorous and it sure ain’t sexy.  Sometimes it’s even a little bit boring.

But it’s damn efficient even if it runs counter to how the Packers, Patriots and the Saints do things.  Those teams were supposed to be contending for a Super Bowl ring.  The 49ers were supposed to be happy if they finished with a .500 record.  Nobody could have predicted this kind of success and nobody did.

Anyone who tell you they saw it coming is lying their ass off.

If ‘Red Tails’ Crashes Does Black Cinema Crash With It?

Will the fate of Black films crash and burn if "Red Tails" fails to take off?

It’s early, but already we have a strong contender for this year’s Great Black Hope.  It’s Red Tails, the George Lucas produced action flick about the Tuskegee Airmen starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Terrence Howard leading a predominantly Black cast into battle against the Nazis.  This version, directed by Anthony Hemingway and featuring a screenplay written by John Ridley (Three Kings) and Aaron McGruder (The Boondocks) is getting a boost from the president who is hosting a screening at the White House.

Lucas, a longtime power player in Hollywood found few takers for the project he’s tried to get made for 23 years.  Lucas told Jon Stewart, “I figured I could get the prints and ads paid for by the studios, and they would release it, and I showed it to all of them, and they said, “No.”

“It’s because it’s an all-black movie; there’s not major white roles in it at all. It’s one of the first all-black action pictures ever made,” Lucas said.

Everyone can decide for themselves whether or not to support Red Tails.  It opens the same week as the next Underworld installment and the new Steven Soderberg “tough chick” flick, Haywire so it’s likely Red Tails will lose the opening week war to Kate Beckinsdale flipping around in skin tight black leather unless Black folks turn out in HUGE numbers.

If they don’t it’s not likely Hollywood will care if it’s another 23 years before there’s a major action film with a primarily Black cast and crew heading it up.  In a USA Today interview, George Lucas, who has tried to get the film about the Tuskegee Airmen made said, “I realize that by accident I’ve now put the black film community at risk (with Red Tails, whose $58 million budget far exceeds typical all-black productions). I’m saying, if this doesn’t work, there’s a good chance you’ll stay where you are for quite a while. It’ll be harder for you guys to break out of that (lower-budget) mold. But if I can break through with this movie, then hopefully there will be someone else out there saying let’s make a prequel and sequel, and soon you have more Tyler Perrys out there.”

George Lucas and his lady-love, Melody Hobson

More Tyler Perrys isn’t a good thing if all they do is make more movies like Tyler Perry, but Lucas has his heart in the right place.

Lucas may be overstating the case that the fate of Black film hinges upon the success or failure of Red Tails, but he’s probably not wrong that if his name wasn’t attached to it, this film would never have been made in the first place.  If the guiding light of the Star Wars franchise can’t get the movies he wants to make greenlighted, who can?  Tyler Perry won’t because he only makes them cheap and aims for even cheaper laughs.  Spike Lee could, but if the emphasis in Red Tails is on dogfights in the air more than the racial politics on the ground, that’s not playing to Lee’s strengths either.

Red Tails features Black actors, a Black director and two Black screenwriters.  If Black folks don’t support this flick WHO WILL? One gripe with the film from some movie critics who have seen it is there is too much computer generated imaging in Red Tails.  This is just silly. Complaining a movie in 2012 has too many CGI effects is like complaining about the high cost of a box of popcorn.   You see CGI up the ying-yang in everything from TV commercials to feature films.  That complaint really holds no validity to me.

I don’t know whether this movie is any good or not.  I hope it is as I plan to see it on opening weekend, which is the most important weekend in a movie’s lifespan.  Not out of any sense of “obligation.”  I don’t feel any obligation to see a Perry movie and have no reluctance in letting the marketplace decide the fate of his movies.  I

I’m interested in the story and figure it might be worth the price of a ticket, but I’m confident even the movie is rotten it won’t take down every Black movie with it.  It should be judged as one single film and not carry the burden of 36 million African-Americans expectations with it.  Didn’t we learn that lesson four years ago?

The other day my wife and I had the entire theater to ourselves to see Tom Cruise outrun a sandstorm in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, but we didn’t go out of any misplaced sense of racial loyalty to Paula Patton.   We just wanted to see a movie.

I do know is Black people have no excuse to complain about our stories not being told when we won’t come out to see a Red Tails.   If a piece of garbage like The Devil Inside can make over $30 million in its opening week and everyone knows it’s garbage, then how can we not give Red Tails a chance to see if it’s deserving of our support?

Hollywood responds best to movies that make money. When movies featuring Black stories with Black stars begin making some we’ll get something more than another hot Medea mess.

Is It True What They Say About The Obamas?

The Obamas: a success story that's still being puzzled over.

Washington isn’t just the seat of power in America, it’s also the world’s biggest fishbowl and there is no bigger fish than the President and his First Lady.   So when New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor focused her attention on Michelle Obama and her frustrations in her role as the second billed star in a history making accomplishment, she ruffled some feelings within the White House.

How much weight you give to the accuracy of this book has to go back to how much trust you have in the Bob Woodward style of writing books about people based upon second and third hand sources.   My take as a journalist is I take these kind of gossipy, unsubstantiated stories with a certain degree of wariness. I won’t go so far as to say the author got the story wrong, but she’s trying to sell a book and she needs a hook to separate hers from the many others already written about the Obamas. If she found one nobody else did, good for her. I know how the sausage gets made so I’m not as wowed.

Kantor said: “I interviewed 33 White House staffers, most of them many times. I wouldn’t trade that for a quick interview with the president, because I’m not sure he’s at liberty to discuss the real questions I asked in this book. In a way, it goes to Barack Obama’s own predicament as president: He’s such a gifted storyteller. Yet can he really tell his own story anymore?”

The White House response: ‘This is the author’s take, reflecting her own opinions, on a remarkably strong relationship the President and First Lady – both of whom share an unwavering commitment to each other, and to improving the lives of Americans. The book, an overdramatization of old news, is about a relationship between two people whom the author has not spoken to in years. The author last interviewed the Obamas in 2009 for a magazine piece, and did not interview them for this book. The emotions, thoughts and private moments described in the book, though often seemingly ascribed to the President and First Lady, reflect little more than the author’s own thoughts. These second-hand accounts are staples of every Administration in modern political history and often exaggerated.”

Decide for yourself who’s got more to lose or gain here: The White House trying to put the best face on the Obama’s marriage or an author with a book to sell?

I listened to Kantor on NPR’s Fresh Air program today and I came away with a totally different impression of her and the book than I had previously.   She clearly feels warmly toward the Obamas, particularly Michelle.   She said at one point despite the sensationalism of some reports, Michelle doesn’t hate Rahm Emanuel.   What was going on is the natural friction between the First Lady’s staff in the East Wing and the President’s staff in the West Wing.

Anybody know how many people are responsible for the president’s schedule?  Two?  Ten?  Try 33 on the scheduling staff.  Now balance that against Michelle wondering if the president isn’t being over-scheduled or will he be able to attend a school function for his daughters?

A hatchet job on the First Lady?

Michelle Obama had to grow into her role as The First Lady as much as her husband has had to grow into hers.   It’s been more difficult than she expected, but she’s risen to the challenge.  So has her husband for whom her support is absolute, total and unshakable.

It’s doubtful I’ll pay to read The Obamas but if I saw a copy at the library, it’s probably worth checking out.

ADDENDUM:  But don’t give Mrs. Obama a copy as a birthday present.  You might get it flung back at you faster than you hand it over.

Speaking to Oprah gal pal Gayle King on the CBS Morning News, the First Lady made it clear she did not approve of Kantor putting his business on the street.

“I never read these books, so I’ve just gotten in the habit of not reading other people’s impressions of people.”

“I guess it’s just more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here,” she said. “That’s been an image people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced, that I’m some kind of angry black woman.”

Maybe Michelle isn’t an angry Black woman, but she isn’t remotely happy with Kantorr trying to climb in her head.

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And The Rocking Chair Will Rock

Van Halen 2012 aka Three Old Men and a Boy

As far as attending concerts goes, I don’t get around much anymore.  I caught two last year and that was a busy year for me.  Even when it’s someone I still have fond memories for like Carlos Santana, any thought I might have of catching him live lasts up to the point where I see Santana is doing a duet with Justin Bieber and then it’s, “Eh, never mind” all over again.

When the semi-classic line-up of Van Halen kicks off a tour after the release of their first “new” album since 1984 some 28 years ago, there were be grown men weeping with joy as they furiously shred power chords and hammering riffs on air guitar as they scream their way through “And The Cradle Will Rock” one more time.

Unlike most fans I don’t have a rooting interest in the battle between the David Lee Roth vs Sammy Hagar eras of the band.   Both guys brought their own strengths and weaknesses to the show.  Roth was the consummate cock-rocker all sass, swagger and rock god sex appeal in spandex.  Who cared if he didn’t have the greatest voice and couldn’t sing a ballad if you waterboarded him.  Roth never wanted to sing silly love songs.  Like the man said,  He ain’t talkin’ ’bout love.  Which meant he was talking about drinking, partying and fucking,

Hagar could sing ballads and he could rock out too.  Just not like Diamond Dave and for that he will always be Roger Moore to Roth’s Sean Connery: a competent replacement, but never as good as the original.  Hagar was in Van Halen as long as Roth was and had even more hits, yet he’ll always be the second wife and not as loved as the first.

I got no gripe with the reconstituted back-to-the-future version of Van Halen.  Eddie gave original bassist Michael Anthony the shaft by opting to replace him with his son Wolfgang instead.   Anthony’s backing vocals was the secret weapon of the Van Halen sound and when Van Halen Reloaded hit the stage in 2007 they were still using Anthony’s taped vocals.   It’s reported that Wolfie is now filling his predecessor’s role on that score as well so presumably when they go live this time they can leave the old tapes at home.

"Who's the three geezers and the chubby chick in the first picture?"

That doesn’t mean everything old isn’t still going to be old.  Hagar told Rolling Stone the “new” album is primarily made up of material that goes back decades.  Playing this week at the Cafe Wha? club for a selected group of music critics and insiders the band blazed through a set list of songs from the classic era and ignored everything that followed 1984 (and yes, that means your shit too, Gary Cherone). “She’s the Woman”  comes off the album being released in February and it’s roots trace back to 1976 with parts of it showing up on “Mean Street.”

Hagar spilled the beans to Rolling Stone, “I heard this record is old outtakes from the old days. I mean, stuff from before I even joined the band. I heard this five years ago though. Michael Anthony was curious if his background vocals would wind up on the album. I don’t think it’s a bad idea. It’s kind of interesting. Bob Seger did it, and so did the Rolling Stones. I think it’s an interesting thing to do in your old age if you can’t come up with fresh, good stuff – or you can’t get along. Because from what I heard, they aren’t working with new material. Ed and Dave didn’t actually write new songs. They took old stuff from previous sessions, and then maybe Dave had to go in and add vocals because they just had scat vocals, or even no vocal part at all.”

Okay, so what if the new album really isn’t.  So what if five years ago Roth’s voice was pretty much shot and there’s no reason to think he can recapture past glories.   So what if Wolfgang Van Halen is just an unproven, but chubbier version of Michael Anthony?   So what if Alex Van Halen…ah, he’s the drummer.  He can probably still play drums well enough.

The main attraction of Van Halen has always been Edward Van Halen and the insane sounds he can coax and cajole out of his guitar and that’s a good enough a reason to be curious if he can still bring it live.   Eddie bounces around on stage better than any 56-year-old man who has survived a bout with lip cancer and sports a replaced hip has a right to be able to.

Neither he or Roth got fat, went bald (though Diamond Dave seems to have grown a sudden fondness for hats) and they don’t look half-dead like Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.  Van Halen is older and slower, but they aren’t a complete hot mess as of yet.  I wouldn’t spend a fortune for a ticket, but I’d buy one for them before I would for Chickenfoot (don’t tell me Sammy and Mike wouldn’t come running if Ed invited them back).

There ain’t nothing wrong with longing for your youth.  Some guys quit their jobs, buy a Porsche and bang a girl young enough to be their daughter to get through their little mid-life crises.   It’s probably better that the pay too much for a ticket to see the desiccated remains of a hard rock band that when in their prime seemed to have more fun that was legal.

Now if you want some real dinosaurs, just remember The Rolling Stones are threatening to tour again.   God help us all.

The Classic Coke Version of Van Halen with 100% more spandex and stuffed jeans.

The Last Word on the First Step to the White House

Mitt: "Hey Rick, you ever Google your last name?" Rick: "I really hate you Mitt."

I’d really like to get past all the opening acts and proceed directly to the Obama versus Mitt  brawl for it all, but we can’t fast forward it past the preliminaries to the main event quite yet, so instead of being first I’ll get the last word in on the Iowa caucus.  Mitt Romney  “won” by a whopping eight votes while  Rick Santorum could claim the title as  the newest Not Mitt Romney  with his surge into second place.

Romney came into Iowa late while Santorum practically moved in having traveled to every country in the state.   Romney’s victory almost qualifies as a tie and a tie with Santorum counts as a loss for Romney.

On to New Hampshire. Winning there won’t prove anything as that’s Romney’s firewall state and he’s expected to clobber all comers.   If Santorum is smart (and if he was he wouldn’t be Rick Santorum), he should forget New Hampshire, let Mitt have his cheap win there and go straight to South Carolina where his culture warrior extremism may play well.

I quit. Nobody cares.

The life of an Anti-Romney is a short one and it’s obviously Slick Rick II’s time to shine. Does he have staying power? Bachmann, Perry, Cain, Gingrich and Paul didn’t. Maybe he’ll be the one that does.   Or at least until Romney’s  super PACS get medieval on his ass.

Mitt will never going to be the guy the true believers love. They don’t believe he really believes what he’s saying and that as soon as he secures the nomination, he’s going to run so far and fast to the middle he will trample underfoot any Tea Partier that gets in his way.

Knowing this is his dilemma, Mitt won’t even waste time trying to win the love of the committed conservatives. He’ll just open up his wallet and crush Rick Santorum like a rotten orange.

Pop quiz, hotshot. What fourth-place finisher in Iowa said this about a month ago?

I’m going to be the nominee. It’s very hard not to look at the recent polls and think that the odds are very high I’m going to be the nominee.

"Vote for me and I'll get rid of the gays and Negroes."

Yep. That was Newt Gingrich swaggering and going all gangsta. Right up until Mittens and money opened up a big ol’ can of whup-ass negative ads and killed Newt’s momentum deader than Osama bin Laden.

Newt didn’t have the cash, the organization or the ability to punch back until it was all over. Santorum has the same trouble and will suffer the same fate.

Mitt isn’t going to pick anyone he doesn’t want and what does he get by picking Bachmann or Perry? Nothing. The Republicans already know they’re going to win Texas and probably Minnesota, so why pick a vice-president who (a) isn’t ready for the job and (b) brings nothing of use to the ticket?

Mitt knows he needs a battleground state. Somewhere like Florida (Marco Rubio, Rick Scott) or Virginia (Bob McDonnell) that takes it out of play for Obama and forces him to look elsewhere on the map for those much-needed electoral votes.

Second, I used to think as well, “Well, Mitt needs to appeal to the Tea Party.” And maybe he does, but not to the extent that appealing to them costs him the independent and disaffected Democratic vote. Mitt is the last Republican standing who can tack to the center in the general election. Santorum can’t and won’t. Paul could, but won’t. There’s nobody else left.

There’s not going to be a brokered convention. There isn’t going to be an 11th hour “real” conservative riding to the rescue. There’s just going to be Mitt and Barack and that’s all the choice you’re going to have besides flushing away your vote on a third-party loser.

Romney’s closing sales pitch is simple. Get all those Tea Partiers and evangelicals and other right-wingers in a room and make it so simple for them even they can’t get it confused.

You don’t like me and I don’t like you. That’s the way it is. but here’s something you may not realize. You don’t HAVE to like me. All you have to do is like the idea of a second term for Obama less.

Bottom line: Ruth Bader Ginsburg is old and she’s been sick. She might want to stay on the Supreme Court forever, but I’m gonna bet she doesn’t make it.

Eventually, she’s going to retire. Scalia might retire. Thomas too. Now who do you want choosing their replacement? Me or Obama?

He will appoint judges that will uphold Roe v. Wade. I won’t.

Now decide.

The remaining Republican candidates plot how to take down Obama

Of Course You Know This Means War!

You can't talk to a man when he don't want to understand, Mr. President.

The day after the Iowa caucuses results further scrambled the Republican race, the man they seek to replace, President Obama made some news of his own and sent a message to the GOP with his recess appointment of former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head up the newly created consumer protection bureau.

Something along the lines of “stick it where the sun don’t shine.”

The long-delayed start of a new consumer protection bureau took a major step forward Wednesday when the White House defied Congressional Republicans who had been holding out for changes that consumer advocates say would have substantially weakened the agency.

President Barack Obama announced a recess appointment to name Richard Cordray as the nation’s chief consumer watchdog despite strong Republican opposition, bypassing Senate approval.

“I refuse to take `no’ for an answer,” the president said told a cheering crowd in Ohio.

The announcement drew immediate fire from Republicans who have blocked Cordray’s appointment since it was announced in July.

“This is a very grave decision by this heavy-handed, autocratic White House,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. “Circumventing the Senate and tossing out decades of precedent to appoint an unaccountable czar to appease its liberal base is beneath the Office of the President.”

The Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, accused Obama of an unprecedented power grab that “arrogantly circumvented the American people.”

The consumer agency was created after the 2008 financial industry meltdown and championed by consumer advocates lead by Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren, who lobbied heavily for an new, independent financial regulator devoted solely to protecting the interests of consumers. But Warren’s forceful attacks on the financial services industry made her appointment to head the new agency politically untenable.

In an effort to remove that political obstacle, Obama in July nominated Cordray, a former Ohio Attorney General, to head the agency. But the nomination has been stalled by Senate Republicans intent subjecting the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to greater oversight by existing regulatory agencies. On Wednesday, the president said the standoff had gone on long enough.

“I’m not going to stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people we were elected to serve,” he said. “The only reason Republicans in the Senate have blocked (the nomination) is because they don’t agree with the law setting up the consumer watchdog. They want to weaken it. ”

I’ll see the Republicans sputtering about checks and balances and raise with some advise and consent.

"I'm pleased to announce I have secured the release of Richard Cordray from the Republicans."

The Senate is not supposed to be a rubber stamp for the president, but it’s not supposed to be a roadblock either.  Hatch would make it seem as though President Obama has set a new precedent for recess appointments.   That’s not remotely connected to reality.  Obama has used this power far less than his four predecessors.

Cordray is only Obama’s 29th recess appointment.   Bush 43 made 171 appointments.  Clinton did 139.  Bush 41 made 77 and Reagan a mind-boggling 243 appointments.   What was it Hatch saying about “decades of precedent?”

The way the GOP should have played it is if you don’t like the law, change the law. Don’t get pissy and say you’re going to block anyone the president nominates because you don’t think consumers need protection from the same bankers that screwed them over before.

It would be preferable if the president never had to make a recess appointment. It only makes bad relations between the White House and the Hill that much worse.  The alternative for the president is to let the Senate obstruct his authority to put his chosen nominees where they are needed in his Administration. I seem to recall how pissed Republicans were when Democrats refused to give Bush’s nominees an up-or-down vote.

The issue never was if Richard Cordray was qualified or not. He was only a hostage in a Washington power game.

This endless tit-for-tat where Congress, regardless of whom is in control, engages in dilatory and obstructionist tactics for purely partisan political purposes is ample evidence how badly the system is broken and must be reformed.

I wish it wasn’t this way. I wish “bipartisan” and “the loyal opposition” were actualities and not just obsolete buzzwords. I doubt the president made the call to do an end run around the Senate casually. But Obama knows the GOP plan is to run out the clock on his presidency.

Better to take the predictable slagging and mouth frothing from the GOP and their hype machine to allow McConnell’s gamesmanship trump the president’s.

The president made some additional recess appointments today as well. I guess he figured he might as well set the tone for 2012 early. It’s not like McConnell was going to give him a damn thing anyway. How much more can he hate Obama?

The Republicans will bluster and threaten apocalyptic consequences. The Democrats will bluster and point to the Republican refusal to act on the president’s nominees.

Politics is a team sport and both sides are playing to win. Good sportsmanship awards are not the goal.

Was it ever?

It’s high time the president dished out some punches instead of constantly taking them looking for a compromise with uncompromising idiots.

I could get used to this

Mr. Turtle Face and Agent Orange jonesing for a smoke.

The 2012 Race Gets Real

Eight losers in search of the blessing from a winner's widow.

Tonight’s the night we get past the preliminaries and the 2012 presidential election really gets started.   All across the state of Iowa, the predominantly White, conservative evangelical populace will dutifully drag themselves into auditoriums, classrooms, living rooms and anywhere else they can congregate to caucus and make the case for their favorite Republican.

If the polls mean anything, Mitt Romney will come out on top by edging out Ron Paul and the recently returned to political relevance, Rick Santorum.  Newt Gingrich had his fling with Iowa, but he’s admitted he won win and with Romney likely to take New Hampshire as well, Gingrich along with Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann will take their show on the road to South Carolina and Florida in search of somewhere to plant their flag and slow Romney’s roll to the nomination.

No, I didn’t forget Jon Huntsman, but everyone else has.  If he doesn’t show well in New Hampshire it’s hard to envision where he could win.  Ditto for Perry, Bachmann, Gingrich and Santorum.  They don’t have Mitt’s organization, endorsements or deep pockets.

That leaves Paul who says he has no intentions of running as an independent, but hasn’t said he won’t either.   If he does, Paul would draw some votes from President Obama, but would be more of a help to him than Romney.   If Fox News and the conservative establishment keep saying mean things about him and Mitt doesn’t incorporate any of Paul’s messages into his campaign, I predict Paul will run a guerilla campaign against Obama and Romney, but he’s more likely to hurt the GOP nominee.

One last thing about Paul.  When I wrote two consecutive posts about his racist newsletters and refusal to sufficiently distance himself from them,  I knew the Paulinistas would be pissed.  I had hoped they might offer some sort of intelligent defense of their boy.   That hasn’t happened.

if thats all you can come up with to complain about ron paul then you should find new material to waste your time on, if you think he’s such a bad guy what do you think about these real fuck holes that manipulate your views and form your opinions for you, if you knew anything you would know ron paul isn’t a racist and you are more the racist for portraying that kind of material on your blog, be a little more realistic when reporting on real people.

It wasn’t his newsletter, it was a newsletter that he leant his name to. He was not involved in the production of the newsletter. Since the incident he has stopped lending his name out in such a manner. Ron Paul is a prolific writer who tends to reiterate his beliefs over and over again in his writings. He had never written anything like the newsletter before the newsletter, nor has he since. Therefore, there is no reason to not believe him. He didn’t write it. Period. Let it go.

Ron Paul supported desegregation of government institutions but was against imposing the same laws on private businesses because doing so would increase government power. And because both parts are in the civil rights act, he would have voted against it. This does not make him a racist. It makes him an idealist who sticks to his priciples and applies them accross the board no matter how unpopular. And no he does not want to repeal the Civil Rights Act, as that would be a collosal wast of time. The first thing he would do is end the Bush/Obama wars.

Why not list some of the recent civil rights legislation that Paul voted no on. I can garuntee that he did so because they increased government power.

Yes Paul voted against giving a congressional metal of honor to Rosa Parks. He votes against ALL congressional metals of honor including one for Mother Teresa. Why? Because he does not believe that congress has the authority spend the People’s money without the consent of the People. He did however offer to put up $100 of his own money for Rosa Park’s metal, and asked the other members of congress to do so also. They all declined.

Oh, and I’m Black and I support Ron Paul.

You have my sympathies, but being Black and a Ron Paul supporter is your problem.  You have the right to be wrong.

Ron Paul is not a racist. He’s just opposed to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, published, but never read the racist essays run in his own newsletters, and is “clueless” to Black and Latino culture and particularly of Mexican-Americans and “intolerant” of anyone speaking Spanish in his presence.

Adios, puta madre.

Ron Paul is not anti-Semitic. He just yelled at a group of Republican Jews until they walked out and thinks saving the Jews from Hitler’s Final Solution in WWII was a bad idea.

Ron Paul is not homophobic. He just doesn’t want to shake a gay man’s hand or use the same toilet a gay man uses and prefers to hold it until he can find a nice, clean public toilet in a restaurant where he can take a dump.

Ron Paul was a doctor. He obviously is fearful of getting gay cooties.

It’s a terrible thing to believe in someone who isn’t everything they present themselves are, but I don’t care if I haven’t convinced the Paulinistas their messiah is a bigot.  I’m convinced.  You’re on your own.

Maybe you’re not mistaken.  Maybe Ron Paul is your hope for a president you can believe in.

But if you’re not Black, possibly not gay, probably not in need of an abortion or of the Jewish faith, by all means, cast your fate to a bigoted wind.

Whatever happens in Iowa tonight will not produce the key moment in the 2012 race that totally altered it.  When Obama beat Hillary Clinton in 2008, it was a huge upset, but Clinton blunted Obama’s bounce by winning New Hampshire a week later.  Romney is the prohibitive front-runner and until someone emerges as the Anti-Romney, he’s still the most likely Republican to take on Obama.

Before we get to the main event we still have to suffer through the qualifying preliminaries.