Monday, June 30, 2008

A New Low for the Left

I've been keeping this somewhat of a secret, but with events being what they are, I have to say it. Right now there is nothing John McCain himself can do to win my vote. Doesn't matter who he picks as Vice President, doesn't matter who he'll pick for the Supreme Court, doesn't even matter if my vote is the only thing that could propel McCain to the White House over Barack Obama. McCain has shown me that he cannot be trusted, and I cannot vote for a man I cannot trust with the keys to my country.

Having said that, the way Democrats and Obama's campaign have been working lately, I may vote for McCain to spite them. For a while now, I've seen Leftists attack McCain for being too old, for having a bad temper, for statements he didn't make but got distorted to make them sound like his, and other utterly meaningless distinctions. Then came Wesley Clark speaking on Obama's behalf. Clark took a shot at McCain's military record, saying on CBS's "Face the Nation," "I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president."

This coming from the nozzlehead who almost bombed an oil pipeline that would have gotten Russia mad at us and would have clearly been an act of war?

Personal sniping against the messenger aside, the Left's attempt to undermine McCain's electability through his military record is not going to help them win voters. Americas by and large love our troops. We may not agree with their missions or their politics, but deep down we appreciate what our military does. To have someone like Wesley Clark, who achieved the rank of General, trot out and attack McCain on his military service is not going to sit well with people, even people like me who don't really like McCain all that much.

Of course, the Left is ready with an excuse that this is just payback for what the GOP did to John Kerry in 2004. On the surface, it's a fair comparison. But where the Kerry/McCain comparison ends is that Kerry was using his military service to make himself out to be a better leader than George W. Bush, who also served. In other words, Kerry's use of his military record was as a political weapon against his opponent. McCain, on the other hand, is not really using his military record to attack Obama. Instead, he's using it to elevate himself and to attract people to his message. If McCain were to say, "I'd be a better President than Barack Obama because I served my country while he didn't," then the Leftists would have a point. Unfortunately for them, the only point in this is on their heads.

I still have serious misgivings about John McCain, misgivings that prevent me from supporting him as much as some of you reading this. However, if the Left wants to continue to hammer McCain's military record, I will have no qualms about voting for him as a means to protest this slimy political tactic endorsed by the Left.

Congratulations, Leftist submorons. You may have made a McCain voter out of me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A News Round-Up

I haven't blogged a lot lately (real life interfering, oh, and a little thing about flooding in Iowa), so I decided to do a quick news round-up to get back into the swing of things.

- Al Gore endorsed Barack Obama. No big surprise here, considering the friction between the Gores and the Clintons. What we should be asking is why he waited so long to do it. Simple. It's ego. He wanted to be sure he would get some attention backing a winner (or at least a perceived winner), so he waited until after Obama seemed to have the nomination sewn up. Then, it was jump on the bandwagon time for Gore, proving conclusively why Gore would not have been a good President. If it takes you that long to figure out who to back and you're backing him simply because it makes you look good, you aren't fit to run a lemonade stand, let alone the USA.

- California's gay marriage ban was overturned as being unconstitutional. Speaking personally, I don't have a problem with gays getting married because at the end of the day it really doesn't affect me in the big picture. Conservatives are also lamenting the fact that the people voted on the gay marriage ban, and thanks to the courts, that ban is now cast to the four winds. But isn't that how the system is supposed to work? If a group thinks a law is unconstitutional, they have the authority to challenge it in court. The will of the people is by no means absolute, especially when they support something that undercuts the rights of others. Having said that, I encourage Californians to give it another try, using their first effort as a learning experience. If they want to ban gay marriage, they have the authority to write and pass that law. That's what makes our government so great: the fact that Americans can form their futures. (And, yes, I realize that this will put me at odds with a number of my readers. )

- The flooding in Iowa has shown us a different way people react to natural disasters. Compare the media coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to what we saw in Iowa within the past week or so. People weren't looting or looking for government to help them. They were too busy helping their neighbors and putting their backs into filling sandbags and putting them on the temporary levees. And in the short run while the disaster was looming, it made for good news coverage, but now that the flood waters are receding, the media aren't sticking around like they did in Katrina. And somehow, I don't think we'll see CNN doing an "Iowa: One Year After" show next year.

- Another Marine charged with crimes connected to Haditha had the charges dropped. No word yet from John Murtha.

- George W. Bush heads to Europe for one last trip as President. The Leftists complained about this, but apparently they forgot Bill Clinton did the same thing...

- Oil prices continue to climb, and Democrats still don't get why. They're busy coming up with lamebrain ideas like suing OPEC or holding hearings on Big Oil "gouging" people at the pumps. It's really easy to suggest these ideas because they're the results of simplistic thinking. It takes a lot more effort to understand that there are other forces at work besides some shadowy conspiracy for oil companies and cartels to...make money!

- With the nomination in sight, attention is being turned on making Michelle Obama look nicer. I find that funny on a couple of fronts. First, they did the same thing with Hillary Clinton in 1992 because she came off as being a coarse individual. Second, I think it will be just as successful as it was with Hillary, which is to say not at all successful. You can doll up a woman like Hillary and Michelle for a while, but eventually they'll find a way to shrug off the efforts and revert to form. Given what we've seen from Michelle Obama so far, the "soft" Michelle won't last for long. On the other hand, the recent photo shoot of Cindy McCain showed her softer side quite nicely and it looked natural. Michelle's photo shoot in the same magazine showed her as someone who was ordering people around. Quite the contrast.

And finally...

- The DNC may wind up with a shortfall with their fundraising for their convention in Denver this summer. And these guys are supposed to be more fiscally responsible than the Republicans?

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Customer Is NOT Always Right

There's an old saying that has been said in the business world for a long time: "The customer is always right." And for many years, it was irrefutable. Now, being in a service industry as I am, I can tell you one thing.

The customer is not always right.

Part of this can be chalked up to the attitude many customers bring to the table before they make the first contact with a company providing a product or service. Sometime within the past 20 or 30 years, consumers became self-absorbed and started demanding above and beyond what they really deserve for even a simple transaction. Why? Because they wanted it.

What they don't realize is that wanting something isn't always a good justification. Take someone addicted to drugs. They want drugs in spite of the fact what they want winds up hurting them, even to the point of death. Same thing with thieves. They want to steal money, jewelry, anything they can get their hands on and sell quickly. What separates the good wants with the bad wants is the motivation.

Yet, I can't completely blame the customers. Companies have lost the fine art of customer service and caring about their customers. With anything you buy from a major company, you're subjected to front-line reps either trying to hustle you away or turn you off from the actual experience so you'll never come back. Put an overly demanding customer against an apathetic and surly customer service representative and you see the vendor-vendee relationship at its most base and foul.

Yet, it's easily fixed. When you're the customer, go into the exchange asking for only what you absolutely need to resolve the problem and show appreciation for whatever can be given to you. When you're the service provider, put yourself in the customer's position and show some compassion. Granted, it's easier said than done, but it can be done.

And for the sake of my sanity and what's left of my hair, it needs to be done.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Lame Duck Congress?

Near the end of a President's second term, it's not uncommon to hear the term "lame duck" attached to him. In political terms, it means that the President is really unable to influence much from a policy standpoint, so he's reduced to letting events shape him, not the other way around.

After watching the Democrat-controlled Congress over the past couple of years, I think we might need to extend the use of "lame duck" to include Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. The recent debate over the Senate's "cap and trade" bill as a means to combat global warming is a prime example. After three days of debate, Senate Democrats (yes, you read that right) pulled the 500 page bill they were debating because it was clear they wouldn't be able to get 60 votes to advance it. Yet, Senate Democrats were overjoyed because a) they didn't figure the bill would be passed this year, but would be passed at a later date after (they hope) a Democrat takes the White House, and b) they saw a slight increase to the number of Senators who favored a cap and trade system.

That's as may be, but the bill was still yanked due to a lack of support.

Although the focus of the debate over this issue has been the merits (or lack thereof) of manmade global warming, the issue that shouldn't be ignored is how ineffective Congress has been since the Democrats took control following Election 2006. Note to Pelosi and Reid: Just because the term "do-nothing Congress" is part of our political lexicon, there are times when you shouldn't take it literally. There are a number of issues facing Americans, including rising oil prices and the war on terrorism, that rank a bit higher than global warming (maybe because the other two are real issues...I'm just sayin'), but they're focusing on issues that bear little resemblence to what's going on now. Sure, Democrats passed an increase to the minimum wage, but they also focused on naming post offices and using their power to hold hearings over "crimes" they say Bush committed.

And these guys wonder why Congress's approval ratings are so low.

As much as Democrats try to paint Bush as a "lame duck President" (although as a means to diminish his role as President and cover up the fact he's been making them look like buffoons), watching Democrats use their power to build a wall between them and the people they claim to represent has been interesting to watch. They certainly talked a great game when they were trying to win control of Congress, but it's clear they've failed to accomplish much.

Lame duck, anyone?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

And Half Justice for Some

I was fortunate enough to catch some of CNN's coverage of the DNC's rules committee meeting yesterday concerning what to do with Florida and Michigan's delegates, or as I call it "The Best Campaign Commerical for John McCain Ever Broadcast." Boy, what a mess that whole situation turned out to be. I won't go into the details again of just how badly the Democrats have screwed up what should have been a slam dunk for Democrats this November.

However, I did want to revisit one point as it pertains to the half-measure Howard Dean got passed, which was to give Michigan and Florida delegations a half vote at the national convention. This isn't quite what I had in mind from the side that loves to toss out how "Republicans want African-Americans to count as 3/5 of a person again." Let's not forget that the original set-up was that Michigan and Florida would not be allowed to seat any delegates if they moved up their primary dates, which the state party leaders did. To even allow them to dispute the ruling now is silly, but it's how the game played out, so we have to address it as is.

And let me tell ya, it doesn't look good for Democrats.

Not only will the Democrats have to deal with the comparsion I made earlier concerning the 3/5 of a person, but they will have to deal with the aftermath of a solution that doesn't get at the heart of the issue: the Democrats don't know how to lead with integrity. If Howard Dean had the leadership skills or at the very least the stones to stand behind his decision, he would have rejected the appeal citing the ruling made. If Michigan and Florida's Democratic Party leaders objected to it, they should have done it at that time and gotten this whole mess behind them before now.

On a larger scale, this delegate situation reflects badly on the Democratic Party as a whole because it shows how divided the party is and how ill-prepared they are to deal with it. This has been brewing since the Clinton years and they've just let it go, thinking that the various factions will unite behind the Democratic candidate as they did in the past. But this year's election cycle is different in that instead of having one candidate that blew out the others, there were two. That created friction, which has turned into the kind of partisan rancor we haven't seen from the Left since Election 2000. And when you consider the ego it takes to even consider running for President, the friction between the two campaigns blazed into a wildfire.

The half-vote measure won't do enough to patch the party back together again, nor will making Clinton the VP choice with Obama at the head of the ticket. The divisions are still there and they are bound to flare up again if the two candidates join forces (or farces as the case may be). But on a deeper level, the half-vote idea will only serve to reinforce the idea that the Democratic leadership doesn't trust the rank and file to decide what's best for the party.

And somewhere in Washington, DC, the RNC is running to church this morning to praise God for the gift He gave them yesterday.