Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – June 10, 2011

This week has just been stupidhot in New York City and just about everywhere else in the United States. For those of us who complain about cold weather, Mother Nature has provided a steamy retort. And all the while the question of the day is – who will quit first, The Newt or The Weiner? And not to be outdone, Sarah Palin continues to insist that her madcap version of the ride of Paul Revere is historically correct. We are going to miss her when she is gone.

The Madness of King Newt

Newt Gingrich had the indisputably worst start to a presidential campaign by any serious candidate. He stumbled out of the gate by making a pretty credible criticism of the Congressman Paul “Genghis Khan” Ryan’s Medicare proposal, thereby earning himself boos and brickbats from the right wing of the right wing.

As Gingrich gave tortured apologias it came to light that he and his wife had a half million dollar credit line at Tiffany’s. He correctly cited his right as a private citizen to shop wherever he wanted, although he did seem a tad bit defensive. But his claim of being an “ordinary citizen” melted in the dazzling brilliance of imagined diamonds and rubies.

And now his entire senior campaign staff has resigned en masse. The reason for the lemming like departure from the S.S. Gingrich was the feeling that he was not sufficiently serious about campaigning for President of the United States.

One staff member cited the Gingriches going on a two week cruise of the Greek Isles (presumably with Tiffany jewels in tow) as Exhibit A. The Newt responded with saying something about needing to get away so that his great mind could summon great ideas.

The Newt has stated that his campaign will continue. Presumably he will press on even if the campaign consists only of The Newt, his wife, her jewels and his great mind with its great ideas.

The Saga of Little Anthony

The legendary sixties group, Little Anthony and the Imperials, recorded the hit song “I Think I’m Going out of My Head”. And now, almost a half century later, another Little Anthony, this time Congressman Anthony Weiner, has clearly demonstrated that he is going out of his head.

He internet and Twitter behavior has been well documented. It will take an entire phalanx of psychiatrists and psychologists to begin to help us understand how a United States Congressman would take time to post X-rated photographs of himself on the Internet.

What is a lot more fascinating than the pitifully tawdry details of Weinergate is the fact that these revelations about members of Congress arise with stunning frequency. We have learned about Senators with “wide stances” and Congressmen who grope and tickle their staff members. Married members of Congress end up in the address books of madams while others father children out of wedlock while married.

Clearly when some members of the Congress tell their constituents that they are busy with the “affairs of state” they aren’t kidding.

Make the World Go Away

Sarah Palin has discovered a seemingly infinite number of ways to make a fool of herself. Her recent demolition of historical fact when referring to the legendary ride of Paul Revere was topped only by her insistence that she was correct.

And I am proposing that we find the school where little Sarah Palin learned that Paul Revere rode to warn the British so that he can be closed – immediately. I am assuming that this would also be the school where she learned that Lexington and Concord (the site of the so-called “Shot Heard around the World” at the inception of the American Revolution) are located in New Hampshire – another example of a Palin-like stagger through history.

We also learned this week that the original Mama Grizzly has sought a meeting with Margaret Thatcher to further cement her claim as the natural heiress to the Reagan legacy. Ms. Thatcher is reported to have said “Who?” or words to that effect.

We can be assured that this will not deter Sarah Palin in the least.

Have a great weekend!

Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – May 20, 2011

This week Cornel West proved that it is possible to be a fool and a hypocrite simultaneously; Congressman Peter King is out to prove once more that hind sight is 20/20 and Newt Gingrich may turn out to be more of a fool and a hypocrite than Cornel West. It has been quite a week.

The Shame of Cornel West

Cornel West has clearly decided to shed the shreds of credibility and integrity that used to attend his unkempt frame. It is more than shameful that Princeton Professor Cornel West decided to refer to President Obama as the “black mascot of Wall Street”.

Presumably the erstwhile rap video walk on has taught his students to marshal facts and present logical and coherent arguments in support of whatever point of view they might wish to express. No one would criticize Professor West for articulating serious policy concerns and considerations. But “black mascot”? C’mon Cornel!

Not being satisfied with a racist ad hominem attack, Dr. West had the temerity to opine as to the “blackness” of President Obama given the fact that his mother was white and he was raised for several years in Indonesia. Seeming to read directly from the birth playbook, he tried to argue that with a Kenyan father and a white American mother President Obama was not fully connected with the experience of black Americans.

Presumably Cornel West has in his possession a certification of his own blackness. I am not clear how teaching at Harvard and Princeton, institutions that have never been bastions of blackness, provide him with the credentials to judge the “blackness” of anyone.

More to the point, it is unconscionable for Cornel West to engage in a gutter-born, personal attack on President Obama that is such an obvious mime of the attacks of the birthers and Tea Party cohorts. Perhaps, in addition to his divinity degree he also has a degree in minstrelsy.

The fact that Barack Obama has not returned multiple phone calls from Cornel West is a testament to the good judgment of Barack Obama. The fact that he didn’t get prized inaugural tickets seems like a personal problem that should be filed along with his obvious need for hair care and an orthodontist.

Unfortunately, until now Cornel West has had sufficient stature and respect that his comments are listened to and circulated throughout this country. His stature now matches his diminutive frame. His respect has evanesced. That he would launch such personal and uncivil attacks on the first African American President of the United States is unworthy of the reputation that he used to have.

Wednesday Afternoon Quarterback

The death of Osama bin Laden has been seen as some as an opportunity for this country to move forward in dealing with terrorist threats to its security. “Some” does not include Congressman Peter King (R, NY) the chairman of the House Security Committee.

This past week he announced that he will be holding hearings on what transpired in the killing of bin Laden by U.S. military forces. It can be predicted that there will be more calls for the gruesome photographs of the dead leader of Al Qaeda. Certainly there will be a need for the Obama Administration to try to respond to detailed inquiries while avoiding security breaches – always a balancing act.

I have heard of Monday morning quarterbacks who have all of the bright ideas and second guesses the day after the game. Congressman King and his G.O.Tea Party cohorts seem to fall into the Wednesday afternoon quarterback category as the last game is so far in the past tense and right this very moment the Obama Administration is focused on putting another bull’s-eye on Saif al-Adel, the recently announced presumptive heir to Osama bin Laden.

Knowing that the Republicans are intent on second and third guessing President Obama will not scare al-Adel. Knowing that the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress are focused on a tomorrow that may find him missing might give him pause.

Stupid Newt Tricks

Last week Newt Gingrich announced that he is running for president. This week he may have second thoughts.

He appeared on “Meet the Press” and clearly (and correctly) criticized the draconian Medicare reform plan of Congressman Paul Ryan as “right wing social engineering”. When the right wing of the right wing hollered like a stuck pig he recanted and stated that any use of “Meet the Press” quote would be a “falsehood” since he had now recanted. Clearly “I take it back” is a reasonable rhetorical tool on the Planet Newt.

Last week it was also disclosed that Newt Gingrich’s wife had an unpaid Tiffany’s bill of between $250,000 and $500,000. I would think it would be hard to attack the “Washington elite” while your wife is running up six figure tabs at Tiffany’s. Welcome to the real world Newt, I am sure that the residents of the Planet Newt will understand.

Have a great weekend!