Tales from the Trail

With jobs the priority, Obama invites culture war?

February 3, 2010

AFGHANISTAN/Has President Obama opened a Pandora’s Box marked “Culture War” by moving — however slowly – to repeal the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on gays in the military?
    
Conservative punditry hasn’t weighed in yet. But  there’s no reason to doubt  the issue will be red meat for those who want to sink the Obama agenda and send congressional Democrats to the unemployment office in November.
    
“Our service members wear the uniform to fight and win wars, not serve as liberal-social-policy guinea pigs,” Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, tells Time magazine.
    
Sen. John McCain, a top Republican on military affairs, accused the administration of acting by fiat to circumvent Congress and the military’s chain of command after the Pentagon announced a year-long review of the policy.
    
“You’re embarking on saying it’s not whether the military prepares to make the change but how we best prepare for it, without ever hearing from members of Congress, without hearing from the members of the Joint Chiefs, and of course, without taking into consideration all the ramifications,” he told Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen at a Senate Armed Services hearing yesterday.
 
Polling data show most Americans favor allowing gays to serve openly in the military. But the risk for Obama is that Republicans and their talk-show allies will cry up the issue and steer the now palpable frustrations of voters against him and his fellow Democrats.
    
Democrats, who got a taste of that voter frustration in Massachusetts last month, now hope to win favor by making the economy their USA-HEALTHCARE/PELOSItop priority.
    
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer favors repeal but seems happy to let the Pentagon take the lead until after this year’s election.
    
“What I want members to do in their districts? I want them to focus on jobs and fiscal responsibility. Those are our messages,” the Maryland Democrat told reporters. “The American public clearly wants us focused on growing the economy, adding jobs. That is a principle responsibility.”

Texas Tea Partiers organize by zip codes

January 30, 2010

In north Texas, the conservative protest Tea Party movement has organized itself by zip codes and hopes it is a model that will be used elsewhere in America as it sets out to “take the country back” neighborhood by neighborhood.

If healthcare wasn’t enough, Obama just picked another fight

January 28, 2010

One thing is clear. President Barack Obama is not afraid of a fight.

He battled all last year with Republicans and some of his own Democrats trying to get healthcare reform through the political headwinds. OBAMA/

How well was Palin vetted? McCain, um, doesn’t know

January 12, 2010

Republican John McCain says he doesn’t know whether his former vice presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, was WASHINGTON-SUMMIT/adequately vetted. At least, he doesn’t know who says she wasn’t, and he doesn’t care. What he does know is that the 2008 presidential race was a tough fight. But now he’s very proud and very happy. Any more questions? Get lost. 
    
McCain just wouldn’t take the bait in an interview with NBC’s Today show when asked to comment on revelations about his failed 2008 White House campaign that appear in the new book, “Game Change,” by New York magazine writer John Heilemann and Time magazine reporter Mark Halperin .
    
NBC asked whether the book is correct where it describes the vetting process for Palin as hasty and haphazard, with no one bothering to speak to her husband or her political enemies.
    
“I wouldn’t know,” McCain replied.
    
Sorry? The Republican Party nominee wouldn’t know if his own running mate had been adequately vetted? 
USA-POLITICS/MCCAIN    
“I wouldn’t know what the sources are, nor care,” the Arizona senator explained.
    
“I am not going to spend time looking back at what happened over a year ago when we’ve got two wars to fight, 10 percent unemployment in my state and things to do. I’m sorry. You’ll have to get others to comment.”
    
McCain’s decision to transplant Palin from political obscurity to the national limelight undermined his credibility even among Republicans. Some worried that voters would see the former Alaska governor as too inexperienced to become Veep and possibly, some day, take on the mantle of Commander-in-Chief during a national emergency. 
    
Palin has since become the most visible Republican figure in the national political firmament, publishing a best-selling book, landing a job as pundit on FOX News and attracting speculation about a possible White House run in 2012. USA-POLITICS/MCCAIN
    
“She will be a major factor in American politics in the future,” McCain predicted, with an apparent air of vindication.
    
“I am proud of everybody in my campaign. I’m proud of the campaign we ran. I’m so proud that I had the opportunity to represent my party in the election. And I’ll always look back on that period with pride and with satisfaction. It was tough. But I’m very happy and I’m very happy in my new role in the Senate and going back and fighting the good fight.”

McCain vows to press fight against Democratic deal-making on health reform

December 21, 2009

A Senate healthcare vote in the wee hours Monday morning got Senator John McCain riled up and quoting Revolutionary War hero John Paul Jones.

McCain praises Palin…but calls her “irrelevant”

December 7, 2009

How’s this for faint praise?

Former Repubican presidential nominee  John McCain talked up Sarah Palin — his 2008 vice presidential USA/partner — on Sunday, saying she had earned an important place in the Republican party.

The First Draft: Afghanistan inspires Freudian slips about that other battlefield – Iraq

December 2, 2009

President Barack Obama may have invoked Vietnam to banish that ugly specter of defeat from his shiny new Afghan strategy. But a day later, Iraq seems to be the wartime nightmare dogging two congressional veterans of the Bush wars.

Republican to seniors: “You’re going to die sooner” with healthcare reform

December 1, 2009

Republican Senator Tom Coburn doesn’t mince words. He was crystal clear about what he thinks ofcoburn1 healthcare reform being debated in the Senate, saying to seniors: “I have a message for you: You’re going to die sooner.”

The First Draft: Talk shows help drive Palin’s popularity

November 30, 2009

If Sarah Palin were elected president of the United States, would conservative talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck wind up in her cabinet?

‘Going Rogue’ Palin trumps best sellers in first week

November 25, 2009

Watch out James Patterson, Stephen King and Dan Brown. Sarah Palin has you beat — at least this USA-POLITICS/PALINweek.