Saturday, April 16, 2011

This and that

We had VUI have had a lot going on and took about a two week hiatus from posting.  Call it a vacation from blogging if you will.  But, over the past couple of weeks a good much has happened in politics, so in our return post we offer “this and that,”  some random thoughts on things going on.

First, let’s look at Libya.  The old strongman remains in power still despite the fact the United States and its allies have aided in the rebels with air strikes.  We joked a bit in the past about Toyota trucks in battle, but even we were taken a bit back recently when the rebels were given weapons and new Toyota trucks.  In other words, it looks like it is coming down to has the newer pickups and we are ready supply them.  It would be funny, but it’s true.  What is also true is the United States and its allies are spending millions fighting for rebels who really do not seem willing to fight for themselves.  One wonders where all the anti war protestors who gave former President Bush fits are in this fiasco of American diplomacy?  We have not seen the first “Hands off Libya” bumper sticker like the “Hands off Iraq” stickers that were on Volvos back in 2003.

That brings us to the President of the United States.  According to Gallup, President Obama’s approval rating is at 41%, the lowest of his Presidency.  It does not help matters for President Obama that he was heard whining about White House technology at fundraiser recently.  You might be losing your home and out of job, but hey the President can’t get the HD flat screen computer monitor he thinks he is entitled to.

But, just when one is ready to write Obama off, there are the Republicans.  House Republicans offered a courageous budget that cut the deficit, but their insistence on cutting tax rates for wealthy Americans overshadowed their thrifty ideas.  It gave Obama political life.

Also giving political life to President Obama is Donald Trump.  VUI has noted how weak the GOP Presidential field seems at this point.  (There is no Ronald Reagan out there.)  But, even we were shocked at how seriously people take television reality star Donald Trump as a Presidential contender.  Trump talks sense when he talks business.  But, his mouth can not shut there.  Trump’s moves to “prove” President Obama was not born in the United States are a waste of time and resources.  Trump’s picking a fight with entertainer Bill Cosby, a man known for urging personal responsibility and much more a family man than Trump, was strange.  Trump is one statement away from political disaster.  But his rise is an indicator of how weak the GOP field is to the 15 to 20 percent of middle of the road voters who actually decide who the next President will be.

In South Carolina, we learned that Governor Nikki Haley is all for creating jobs and cutting taxes, unless it means not taxing products sold from a proposed distribution center in Lexington County.  Supposedly 3000 jobs could be created by Amazon but Haley’s staying loyal to old Lexington friends, which seems to be her core belief. Haley did indicate if the legislature gave Amazon a break she would not veto or sign it.   That is not the stuff Vice Presidential candidates are made of.  Haley’s focus seems to get narrower and narrower as her term develops and she seems to be already wearing summer flip flops, including signing another version of a bill out of Aiken County she previously vetoed.  Also, after vowing in her campaign not to cut Medicaid benefits, Haley made a ceremony of cutting Medicaid payments.

Exiting the scene of power soon will be House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Cooper.  Governor Haley and Cooper are not fans of one another.  Last year, Cooper seemed to sleep walk through a closer than should be campaign against a young primary challenger.  Cooper announced this will be his last session as Chairman of Ways and Means, clearing the way for fellow Anderson County House member Brian White to take the job.  VUI guesses Cooper will not seek another term in the House, which will make the race for his seat a hot one in the GOP primary in 2012. Indeed, for the past 37 years, (16 for Dolly Cooper, Dan’s father and 21 for Dan), a Cooper has held the SC House District 10 seat.  But, District 10 has proven to be fluid over the past few years with new voters moving in.  Redistricting will make it even more fluid.

Finally, conservatives who want to and correctly want to cut the state budget here and there are all but ignoring the costs of the private school subsidy scheme.  When analysts pointed out it could cost the state $133.4 million when fully engaged, they ignored it.  So called conservatives are still pushing for the measure, and for good reason.  Hundreds of thousands of campaign dollars will flow to their campaigns for doing so.  But, subsidizing private entities, even private schools, is not the government’s business.  If Howard Rich and his allies believe so much that private schools are the answer for poor folks in bad public schools, then all they have to do is write checks to pay the tuition of those students.  Cut out the middle man.  Leave government out of it.  That is what real conservatives do.  Cut the crap.

That brings us to the nonsense of the federal government and our last item.  The United States Postal Service was caught using the image of an imitation Statue of Liberty on a recent stamp it presented to the public for sale.  The image was from an imitation statue at a casino in Las Vegas, not the real Statue of Liberty.  When caught, the Postal Service said they preferred the image of the fake.  That is outrageous but typical.  We in America and South Carolina seem to like the fake image over the real thing.  History, tradition, hard work, values, those things do not matter any more.  Our leaders, both right and left, thrive on our ignorance.  They pay people to craft their words and images so we make them our political idols while we sip our fake cokes and worry more about our votes for Dancing with the Stars or American Idol then who we vote for to take over a third of our income to pay back those who gave money to them.  No wonder the postal service got in on that gig.

That’s the this and that for now.  We are not dead yet, despite the rumors.  We plan to take on some big issues, such as who is teaching your kids, how your Representative and Senator votes, and a host of other things.  And, VUI is just fascinated with how secretive the Governor and other politicians who call for openness really are about themselves.  Time to have some fun.

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