Former General, and Secretary of State, Colin Powell joined David Gregory on Meet the Press this past Sunday to discuss a wide array of pressing issues facing the country.
Powell, a lifelong Republican himself, gave his take on the current state of the Republican Party and criticized its trajectory as well as its stance on a wide array of current issues. He gave a strong and logical defense of Sen. Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be the next Secretary of Defense and spoke about the role of the U.S. military and the mission in Afghanistan. He also spoke about gun control and other pressing issues.
This is a great video to watch and some real logical perspective from a life long public servant, whether it be during his time in the military, in government, or now through his philanthropic activities, General Powell is a tue American Statesmen and represents the best in leadership that this nation has to offer.
It is a new year, and with the exit of the 112th Congress (one of the worst in our history) and the political haggling of the first of many ‘fiscal cliffs’ now over, America seems to be facing a new and potential hazardous future if it chooses to stay on the same destructive course. With the upcoming inauguration of Barack Obama for his second term, the newly sworn in 113th Congress, and three new fiscal nightmare scenarios looming, we once again stand at the precipice of doing what is necessary, versus what will suffice the status quo and political power grabs.We often get caught up in media cycles and do not look at the big picture. Sometimes what is necessary is for a look in from the outside, such a view sometimes puts things into perspective.
With that in mind everyone interested in the future of the U.S. should read Edward Luce’s Time to Start Thinking: America in the Age of Descent. Luce, who is the Washington Bureau Chief for the Financial Times and a former speechwriter for former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, outlines the problems facing the U.S. as the rest of the world continues to grow and our economic, and political, strength continue to diminish. He outlines the social, economic, and cultural decline that the nation faces– mourning the decline of American pragmatism which has seen the nation push through past crisises and threats of decline.
This time around he, as well as a litany of other experts he cites, are not so hopeful. In the New York Times review of the book, Jonathan Rauch summarized some of the main points outlined in the book. Summarizing Luce’s arguments, he states
where does that leave the country? Not in a great place, if Luce is right. Jobs are disappearing, median household income is declining, skills are in short supply, health costs hobble competitiveness, outsourcing and offshoring and automation marginalize working-class men, and through it all political leaders either sit by helplessly or actively oppose remedies. And that’s just in Chapter 1. Later sections bring us dysfunctional schools, demoralized government, burdensome debt and deficits, failing innovation, hidebound regulation, crumbling infrastructure, a paralyzed Congress, a broken campaign-finance system and more, much more.
Though the book does a great job listing all the doom and gloom scenarios facing the U.S., its best asset is that it illustrates that our decline is relative. It is relative to the rest of the world which is still struggling to find its bearing and inherit its newfound political and economic power. We have time to adjust, to make the necessary changes, and to adapt the U.S. for a new decade and century before it is too late. The book highlights some of our largest threats and challenges of the past century– the Cold War, the emergence of Japan in the 1990’s, and now a globalized world and the emergence of China.
The U.S. has weathered the same alarmist voices which speak of America’s decline for decades. What the book does is raise the alarm against absolute decline. Winston Churchill once said that America always does what is necessary when it has exhausted all other options, yet again our backs are against the wall and our leaders must act to reemerge from a financial crisis and political paralysis.Before the fall of the Soviet Union, Georgi Arbatov, Gorbachev’s close aide told the U.S. “We [the USSR] will do a terrible thing to you; we will deprive you of an enemy.” This time around America faces the worse enemy in its history– itself. Over a century ago Abraham Lincoln envisioned this decline from within when he stated “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
Luce makes a number of good points, raises a number of valid questions, and offers some pragmatic solutions for the future of the U.S. Let’s hope someone is listening. Reading this book would help.
The past two articles dealt with my views of the Republican Party, their problems, and some potential solutions. Today’s Morning Joe panel had a great discussion about the divergent trends happening within the GOP and how they can counter the Democrats. In the discussion, they cite a great article by liberal columnist for the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof. In the article Kristof challenges liberals for inadvertently promoting a culture of dependency reliant on government programs. Though these programs seek to assist those in need they sometimes have a reverse and adverse affect. He states
This is painful for a liberal to admit, but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency. Our poverty programs do rescue many people, but other times they backfire.
I highly recommend that article because it highlights the deficiencies of both parties, and ideologies, in tackling our daily problems with pragmatic and positive solutions. Both parties intend to do well, but unfortunately sometimes their solutions do not work in the real world where ideology is tested and sometimes fails. Read more…
(This article is part 2/2 of The Elephant in the Room which was posted yesterday. Please read that before continuing onto this article.)
Time to get it together, and fast. The GOP has lost five of the last six presidential popular votes. Bill Clinton won in 1992 and 1996, Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000 (though Bush won the electoral college and the presidency); the only popular election win was George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign, and Barack Obama handily won in 2008, and now again in 2012. This is a party whose message is falling on deaf ears, perhaps because most of those ears have passed away, and the GOP is being left with an aging, white, religious and fringe base. Demographics matter, and the Republicans simply do not have the numbers to win nationally, or to an extent at the state level, in presidential elections anymore.
So, what to do? Simple, actually. Lead. Read more…
( This is part 1 of 2 of this article. To read the second part “Prescriptions for an Ailing Elephant” go here)
There is an elephant in the room. Look in the mirror, Republicans: It’s you. There is no one to blame but yourselves, and it’s time to get your act together. This past election made it clear: President Obama and the Democrats did not defeat you, you have been defeating yourselves for the past twenty years. This past election was a culmination of a ruinous policy, and trajectory, that is of your own making. The primary purpose of a political party, or any organization, is to achieve their policy, and in order to do so you must win. The goals of the Tea Party and the religious super-right are sacrificing electoral success for ideological purity. That is the surest formula for self-defeat and the GOP has mastered that formula. Dogma does not win elections, and as long as you choose to be a political party rather than an ideological movement, your goal is to win elections. Having a candidate who shares most but not all of your ideals is better than not having a candidate win at all. Somehow, somewhere, the party has forgotten this fundamental principle.
Lets highlight the losses that Republicans have inflicted upon themselves, both in the 2010 mid-term election, and in this year’s election. Read more…
As some of you may have noticed I have a ‘What I’m Reading’ section on my sidebar. These books are on my bookshelf and I am currently educating, or entertaining, myself with. Currently, I just finished is The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt. Haidt is a social psychologist at the NYU-Stern School of Business and in this stellar book he confronts human morality, where it comes from, and why people differ on an array or issues especially politics and religion.
For anyone interested in morality and why we act in certain ways, and think about things the way we do, this is your book. Reviewing the book for the New York Times, William Saletan sums up major themes of the book. Read more…
With the Thanksgiving holiday now behind us, and congress back in session, the impending fiscal cliff will be dominating the news and the markets. This clip by Fareed Zakaria, from CNN’s GPS, gives great insight and a real look at what the real issues are and what we could do to adress them and perhaps fix them. Read more…
President Obama’s re-election was more important and meaningful than his first. Let me explain.
When the president won his election against John McCain in 2008, it was heralded as a historic moment in America. The election of the first African American was seen as groundbreaking. Even if Hillary Clinton had been nominated instead, she still would have won and it would have been just as historic. But she did not: Barack Obama got nominated, he beat John McCain, and he became president. But any Democrat would have; I am not taking anything away from the president, but after eight years of George Bush the country was looking for a change— a drastic change— and it elected a relatively young and inexperienced Senator as President of the United States. Read more…
The Republicans would like to make every excuse possible to explain the drugging they received in last week’s election. The excuses have varied from ‘Mitt Romney was not a stellar candidate,’ to the president and his campaign painted the Republicans as out of touch (which they are), as well as every other possible excuse except the simple numbers of it. This was not an election of ideas, popularity, or the economy, as the Romney campaign would have had us believe. Or anything else. Plain and simple, it was demographics.
The Republicans have been governing over an ever increasingly shrinking coalition since the 1990’s and it finally took this election to make them realize it. Based on some delusional hypothesis from conservative pundits and analysts, the GOP thought it was going to win the presidency and perhaps re-take the senate. This is wishful thinking at best. In this article by Chris Cillizza, of The Washington Post’s TheFix, he argues
The numbers paint a very clear picture: Republicans now face the same low electoral-college ceiling that Democrats confronted for much of the 1970s and 1980s — needing everything to go right to win the presidency, much less break the 300-electoral-vote barrier. Read more…
First and foremost, congratulations to President Barack Obama on winning re-election yesterday and on a well run, and tremendously successful, campaign.
Despite all the punditry and right-wing news and media projections it was not as close as anyone had expected. The Obama campaign was well organized thanks to the incredible work of David Plouffe, David Axelrod, and Jim Messina, who I believe will go down as the best campaign organization in the modern era. Their ability to turn out the vote using all methods of traditional media and modern technology, along with a strong grassroots political machine, ensured a decisive and quick win for the president. Read more…