Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Republicans Lose a Councillor

Well, it wasn't by election, but the Republican Party just suffered a defeat in the City-County Council. Non-line toer and At-Large Councillor Ed Coleman is bolting from the flock and is changing his party allegiance to Libertarian. This makes the Council makeup 15-13-1.

My hat is off to Coleman for fighting the good fight against his old party, but I kind of wish he would have stayed onboard there. It really doesn't do a whole heck of a lot of good for him to take his toys and go to the Libertarians (who now hold a county-wide seat).

When I saw Coleman at 2007's Decatur Township Civic Council City-County Council Candidates' Forum, I knew that he was playing with a different deck than most Republicans were. The only truly impressive person running for At-Large Councillor I saw that night (other than Joanne Sanders and Rozelle Boyd) was Republican Kent Smith. The other three Republicans running for the office seemed to offer little in the way of knowledge or answers. I also heard Coleman speak out against his own party interests that evening.

It comes as no surprise that I now see him leave his party. It's a blow to Council President Bob Cockrum and his Republican Majority Leader, Lincoln Plowman. It also shows what may be the potential state of the inner workings of a Republican majority that so much wanted to portray a sense of unity after an admitted tumultuous four years of Democratic control of the Council.

Certainly, it's not my place, as a Democrat, to throw stones. My party revolted against a great statesman like Rozelle Boyd to give us Steve Talley and "he who shall not be named."

With that said, I say to Councillor Coleman...now the lonliest man on the Council...I hope you enjoy the two remaining years on the Council. Your time in office was likely limited due to the way you spoke up against the Republican leadership, but now it will be limited because even the best Libertarians rarely receive more than 6-7 percent of the vote. Maybe incumbency can help, but I want to thank you for likely putting a Democrat back on the Council in your seat. You likely will siphon votes off of the Republican trying to beat you.

Still, it takes guts to do what you did, and, for that, I salute you! I just wish you would have been successful in reforming your party from the inside. Or...at least...causing more trouble.

Maybe now we can get a 14-14-1 Council in 2011?

The Party of Hoover

Those aren't my words. Those words in the headline to this post came directly from longtime Republican Senator from Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter, in description of what his party has become.

The Republican Party finds itself a shell of its former self. Resigned to lobbing in opposition from every corner and playing the old curmudgeons on the corner that say, "That'll never work." The only thing...they aren't providing any answers.

This was evident on Hardball with Chris Matthews just last night. Matthews interviewed a former Republican member of Congress (whose name escapes me right now) and he kept talking about how the new stimulus plan will never work because it ignored Republicans in Congress and their suggestions. Matthews asked him straight up if he would rather return to the policies of the Bush Administration that got us into this mess, and the former Congressman-turned-talkshow-host could not get off the talking points that the last eight years were rosy and that the Bush Administration's policies worked.

I am concerned about the stimulus bill. I was concerned about President Bush's version as well. This time, though, I think President Obama has done some good things to make sure the money will be spent in the right areas. Rather than just throw money at the problem, the new stimulus bill has money dedicated to specific uses. I believe the parts of the packages aimed at the states will help local governments make ends meet. President Obama's plan seems to recognize that all politics is local.

So, while John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and other Republicans are whining about how Obama didn't pay any attention to Republicans during the process (ahem...tax cuts...ahem), Obama is busy changing the conversation. While the Republicans managed to frame the early parts of the discussion in their favor, the Democrats have had a nice comeback. President Obama taking his case directly to the people is an extremely intelligent strategy.

What we are seeing in action is a responsive President that is reacting to what he hears when he's out on the road in the unscripted, unscreened town hall meetings. It's refreshing. It's certainly not Hoover-like.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Heroes

There's an old Willie Nelson song that says, "There ain't nothin' quite as sad as watching your heroes die. One by one, as they fall, soon there'll be no heroes at all."

It's sad, and it's true. Heroes are falling every day. Earlier this week, we found out that Michael Phelps likes the wacky tabacky and, from the past file, apparently liked a little bit of the wild turkey. Yesterday, a report was released that showed that Alex Rodriguez tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003. The seemingly perfect Helio Castroneves danced his way into American living rooms and climbed fences into a household name. That attracted the government to find out that he had allegedly hidden income from the IRS.

To me, it makes these folks seem more human. It also underlines the fact that even heroes make mistakes.

Some heroes we loved because they weren't perfect. Folks like Dale Earnhardt, Sr. A man called the Intimidator because he would rather push you out of the way then lose. Bob Knight, who is (this blogger not included) worshipped like a diety, despite his flaws. In politics, Bill Clinton, a man whose libido has gotten him into trouble so many times but remains one of the better Presidents in the post FDR era.

Americans don't like it when their heroes hide things. That's why MLB pitcher Andy Pettite was praised when he admitted he used human growth hormone. It's why Roger Clemens name is now mud because all the evidence points that he not only used HGH but other performance enhancers.

Even Barack Obama hasn't been immune lately. There's been a little tarnish on his decision making lately as some of his cabinet members have come under fire for tax issues.

Bottom line, there is no perfect human. Even Richard Lugar probably pulled a tag off a pillow at some point. Kurt Warner may have tossed a taco wrapper out of his car window, and Steffi Graf probably uttered a cuss word or two. No one is perfect, and our heroes are human. Human beings are amazing creatures, but our scripture and our practice has shown time and time again that we are indeed all human. By definition, humans make mistakes.