Archive for August 2008

McCain: “Damn the torpedoes! I’m pickin’ Palin!”

August 29, 2008

Once again, John McCain has proven why after two decades in Washington, he can still claim the titles of “maverick” and “reformer.” In selecting Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, McCain has, in one fell swoop, demonstrated his legendary abilities to defy convention, think outside the box and make decisions for the right reasons.

Barack Obama may talk about “change,” but his selection of Senator-for-Life Joe Biden was an anti-climactic act of desperation; an attempt to get someone — anyone — with national security experience on the Democratic ticket.

In contrast, McCain’s choice of Palin is a bold, brilliant and unexpected move that has injected some much-need energy and enthusiasm into the GOP ticket.

Think about it:

* Obama talks change and picks… a guy who’s been a Washington insider since the Nixon administration.

* McCain talks reform and picks…a reformer! An elected chief executive who’s taken on Big Oil in the state where we need to begin drilling in order to get America on the path to energy independence.

* Obama desperately needs to make peace with millions of female Hillary Clinton supporters, so he picks…a charter member of the old boys’ network and DC establishment.

* McCain wants to sway those same disaffected women voters, so he picks…a woman!

And not just any woman.  A woman who has run a city (albeit small) and has served as chief executive officer of America’s largest state. A woman married to a union fisherman. A mother of five children, including an infant with special needs and a son on his way to serve in Iraq. A self-proclaimed “hockey mom” who serves as commander of the Alaska National Guard. A woman who likes to hunt when she’s not fighting to cut taxes and putting an end to pork-barrel spending.

Let’s see — that’s women, hunters, pro-lifers, soldiers, hockey (and soccer) moms, fiscal conservatives, anti-tax groups, unions…Is there any target demographic that Sarah Palin doesn’t bring to the ticket??

No doubt there will be those who’ll decry McCain’s selection of Gov. Palin as a cheap ploy to appeal to women voters. There’ll also be those who’ll say Palin doesn’t have enough experience, or will simply sneer, “Sarah Who?”

They would do well to remember, however, that after running a city and a state, Gov. Palin has far more executive experience than the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee — a man who, just a few years ago, had everyone saying, “Barack Who?”

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2,000 new state workers? Glad to know things are going so well…

August 26, 2008

Since taking office 18 months ago, Gov. Deval Patrick has not only increased his office budget by 80 percent and spent thousands on cadillacs and new drapes, but also added nearly 2,000 new jobs to the state payroll. The Boston Herald also reported that last year dozens of corrections officers made well over $100,000, while some state troopers were raking in close to $200,000.

And here I was thinking that times were tough, what with Massachusetts facing a $1 billion budget deficit and all.

Whew! What a relief!

I mean, how bad can things be if Deval can afford to add so many people to the state payroll and give out six-figure salaries to prison workers? And remember, these high-paying “jobs” also come with ridiculously generous pensions and health benefits that the rest of us will be paying off decades from now. (At least these hard working “public servants” won’t be around to rub our noses in it: Decades from now, when those of us employed in the dreaded private sector are spending our golden years dining on peanut butter and Hamburger Helper, the payroll patriots will all be playing golf down in Florida.)

And our legislators wonder why citizens are mobilizing to abolish the state income tax….

Jeff Beatty: On energy crisis, John Kerry is MIA

August 17, 2008

Republican U.S. Senate nominee Jeff Beatty’s commentary in yesterday’s Berkshire Eagle illustrates the lack of leadership John Kerry has shown regarding the current energy crisis. While many Americans had to curtail or cancel their summer vacation plans due to the high cost of gas, Kerry and his Democratic Senate colleagues made sure to get out of Washington DC before the dog days of August — without voting on a crucial energy reform bill.

From Beatty’s commentary:

The U.S. Senate, including John Kerry, could have acted recently to resolve our current fuel crisis by voting for a comprehensive energy plan. Instead, Kerry characteristically shirked his responsibility to the people of Massachusetts. He and the Senate leadership ducked for cover, allowing a comprehensive energy reform bill, which included lifting Congress’s moratorium on offshore drilling, to die. John Kerry and others then exited the U.S. Capitol for the August recess — a 5-week vacation most of us cannot afford — leaving a steadfast few who demanded a vote on this issue literally standing in the dark of the House chamber with the American people left in the lurch.

Beatty goes on to outline his concrete, common-sense plan for achieving short-term energy relief while supporting the research and development of alternative sources of renewable energy. John Kerry? His answer is (surprise, surprise) to raise the gas tax. Just what we need: $4-a-gallon gas plus another 50 cents in taxes on every gallon we buy.  Way to help the middle class, John!

But then, no one has ever accused Sen.  and Mrs. Kerry of being attuned to the needs of John Q. Public. After all, this is the lear-jet flying, yacht-sailing, multiple house-owning couple who dragged a camera crew into a Wendy’s for a “John Kerry: Man of the People” photo op, only to have Ketchup Queen Teresa point hesitantly to a picture of a bowl of chili and ask, “What is that?”

Given the senator’s disappearing act on the energy reform bill, it would appear the Kerrys haven’t been to a gas station lately, either.

Is an economic tsunami headed for Massachusetts?

August 15, 2008

State Sen. Scott Brown (R-Wrentham) was the speaker at Quincy’s RCC meeting Tuesday night, and while it was encouraging to hear how our elected Republican legislators are managing to make an impact despite being heavily outnumbered, the economic forecast doesn’t look good.

Actually, that’s an understatement. According to Sen. Brown, the flagging economy, combined with Gov. Deval Patrick’s proposed $16 billion in new spending (yes, that’s $16 billion), has Massachusetts on track for an “economic tsunami.”

But hope is not lost. As Sen. Brown pointed out, the impending crisis has reached a point where even the most oblivious Democratic legislators are beginning to realize that real economic trouble is on the horizon. It also presents an opportunity for Republicans to work even harder to raise awareness among the general public about the impending crisis and to renew our calls for fiscal restraint on the part of spendthrift Democratic legislators, lest we all get washed away when the FY09 Tsunami makes landfall.

(Republican) Party Line with Cindy McCain and Rudy Giuliani

August 15, 2008

 

 

Kumu Gupta, vice chair of the Quincy RCC, sent along this recap from last night’s McCain Campaign House Party conference call:

 

I just got off the phone from a nation wide conference call with the McCain Campaign, which was supposed to be the first of its kind McCain Nation Event Day across the country.

 

The call started off with Cindy McCain thanking all the volunteers for helping her husband be the next President of the United States. She emphasized the fact that Senator McCain brings responsible leadership to the position and that she as a mother, particularly supported him since her son is serving in Iraq. She closed her speech with a thank you from her and the family’s seven children for supporting Senator McCain in his run for the White House. Then there was short talk by a McCain Senior Advisor on why Senator McCain is the right candidate for the job. This was followed by Q&A by the callers.  I was lucky, that my question was 2nd in the queue, but that’s probably because I called 15 minutes before the 7:40 pm designated time. The question I asked was:

 

“What is the main strategy for the campaign to combat the mass following that Senator Obama seems to be generating ?“ The answer was, “Change supported with experience, which Obama seems to be weak on” and the counter ad on television by the McCain campaign about Obama’s celebrity. There were a couple of questions from different states on Senator McCain’s pro-life stance.

 

About 45 minutes into the call, a surprise guest speaker was introduced – the guest being Rudy Giuliani. Rudy started out his speech by saying that he is 100% behind McCain now and was even when he was still in the running. He urged the listeners to support McCain be the next president, based on experience and maturity in handling complex world issues – sighting example of McCain versus Obama’s response to the recent crisis in Georgia in the Eastern block. There were a couple of questions for Rudy Guiliani and most revolved around oil and economy. But the one that generated some “jovial banter” was the one on “who would you like to answer the phone at 3 am in the White House” to which Rudy Giuliani responded that –“ I agree with Hillary Clinton’s response, that it certainly shouldn’t be Barack Obama.”

 

The conference call ended with the McCain advisor thanking all for hosting house parties in support of Senator McCain and urged that everyone buckle down and work hard in helping elect John McCain over the remaining 82 days to election. Both he and Rudy Guiliani encouraged people to host another house party event, coming up on Sept 4th when John McCain accepts the nomination at the Republican Convention in Minnesota and listen to his acceptance speech. All in all, I had a great time and it was exciting to be surprised by Rudy Guiliani’s presence on the call, since I enjoyed listening to him the past few times I met him.

 

I am considering hosting the Sept 4th event in the community room of my building, since it has a large screen TV – will keep you posted.

Jeff Beatty: Massachusetts has seen Obama movie before

August 13, 2008

Today’s Human Events features a commentary by U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Beatty that serves as a wake-up call to the rest of the nation as to what they can expect if Barack Obama is elected president and Beatty’s opponent, John Kerry, is re-elected.

How does Beatty know what life under a Kerry-supported President Obama will be like?  Easy: For the past 18 months, we here in Massachusetts have been test driving an Obama administration under its regional brand name: Deval Patrick.

Remember all those starry-eyed promises about how Deval was a different kind of politician? He was no backroom political dealmaker. He was a self-made man from the South Side of Chicago who, along with his high-powered wife, was going to help the common man and rescue us from property tax hell. Together We Can!

Then came the $27,000 drapes, the $72,000 social secretary for said high-powered wife, the Cadillac, the 80 percent increase in his office budget … and now $16 billion in proposed new spending. That’s more than the total cost of the disastrous Big Dig. (No word, of course, on when, if or how Cadillac Deval plans to make good on his property tax promise, or where he plans to find $16 billion in new revenue — details, schmetails.)

Now, here comes Barack Obama. He’s a different kind of politician. He’s no backroom political dealmaker. He’s a self-made man from the South Side of Chicago who, along with his high-powered wife, is going to help the common man. Yes We Can!

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…

As Jeff Beatty notes in his commentary, an Obama presidency would be little more than a bad remake of Deval Patrick: The Motion Picture. On November 4, let’s hope the nation gives both Obama and Kerry two thumbs down.

Since when does the mayor select School Committee members?

August 8, 2008

Less than 24 hours after it was publicly announced that School Committeeman Kevin Mulvey was stepping down  to accept a position with the Quincy Public Schools, Mayor Koch announced his “hand-picked” choice for the position: State Rep. and former School Committee Member Ron Mariano.

There’s just one problem: As mayor and school committee chairman, Koch does not have the authority to merely appoint a replacement when a committee member steps down. That authority rests with both the School Committee and the City Council, whose combined 15 members most hold a joint convention and vote to select a replacement. What’s more, any Quincy resident may apply for the position.

By naming his choice so early, however, Mayor Koch has clearly signaled his preference for the position, thereby discouraging less well-connected residents from even applying. That’s disheartening. Even more disquieting are the reasons Koch gave the Patriot Ledger for selecting Mariano:

Koch said he ushered Mariano into contention for several reasons: his influence and knowledge at the state level, his experience with the state’s school construction program and relationship with the program’s director, and his long history of serving the Quincy schools.

“Influence and knowledge at the state level?” So now, in order to serve on the Quincy School Committee, you have to be politically well-connected at the State House?  True, state funding and support for our schools is very important. But that’s what we elect state legislators for — and Rep. Mariano already holds that position.

It’s also rather troubling to note that in the past few years we’ve seen a succession of School Committee members who have either elected to send their children to private school — as Mayor Koch does — or, like Rep. Mariano, have no children.  Having parents of children who attend Quincy Public Schools on the School Committee not only ensures that the committee is fully invested in the improvement of our public education system, but also provides a parent’s perspective on important issues such as school safety, curriculum, homework and more.

Instead of discouraging public participation by naming his preferred candidate from the outset, Mayor Koch should keep an open mind and allow the public selection process to run its course.