A Look at Our New Leader

Reince Priebus
Reince Priebus

Most of us are unfamiliar with the new head of the RNC, Reince Priebus.

Heck, we don’t even know how to pronounce his name. I learned that it’s Rhine with an s at the end, and pree-bus.

He’s from Wisconsin and came to prominence with the success of Republicans there in November’s election. Wisconsin got a Republican governor and unseated liberal Democrat Senator Russ Feingold, plus gained more new state legislators.

Priebus is just 38 and has a wife, Sally. Their first date was at a Lincoln Day dinner and they married in 1999.  They have two children, Jack, 5, and baby Grace.  They will move to Washington, D.C., from their Wisconsin home in Congressman Paul Ryan’s district.

Priebus  worked for the Republican party since age 10 when he started volunteering. He  graduated from the University of Miami law school, then joined a law firm in Wisconsin.

Many see him as more humble than Michael Steele and one who has never turned a blind eye to the grassroots. In fact, Wisconsin GOP executive director Mark Jefferson likes his attitude. “If someone from Barron County or Douglas County wants Reince to come speak at their Lincoln Day dinner, he’s happy to do it,” he says.

As for his reception in the blogosphere, Priebus hasn’t gotten a lot of attention. However, Powerline found three positive things they like about him. He isn’t Michael Steele. He was successful as head of the GOP in Wisconsin and he gained the confidence of the committee that elected him.  As they see it, the RNC chair needs to have the confidence of donors, decent organizational skills and the ability to stay out of the limelight or trouble.

The very conservative Erick Erickson of Redstate.com weighed in, too. “I’ve been inundated with calls from ardent defenders of his this past week from Wisconsin who say he was a significant player in the profound turnaround up there. That so many have called this week to support him – people who are authentically and unquestionably grassroots – is encouraging.”

Let’s hope he’s up to the task ahead.

Pushing Pence

A lot of conservatives, old guard and new, like what they see in Mike Pence. The congressman from Indiana is weighing a run for the presidency and a new group has formed to encourage him.

Pence is said also to be considering a run for the governor of Indiana when current Republican Mitch Daniels’ term is up. He has indicated he will decide late this month.

Redstate.com, who also is a fan of Pence, reveals today that a new website, www.theconservativechampion.org, has debuted to urge the congressman to run.

Pence did not join in the GOP spending spree, nor did he support TARP. He is for lower taxes and fewer regulations on business. Pence has always been pro life and speaks eloquently on the Constitution. Having heard him in person, I can attest to his wit and communications skills. Having worked in talk radio obviously helped him. No one on the current scene reminds me as much of Reagan as Pence does.

If you go to the web site you will find out more about him, his stance on the issues, what pundits have said about him and the group behind him. Pence is one of the few Republicans who understands the new media. He has a YouTube page, he does Twitter and has a facebook link. Worth a look.

Kennedys vs. Reagans

Don’t get me wrong. I really don’t like the Kennedy family. I don’t like how they are idolized. I don’t like how their flaws are papered over by historians. I don’t think JFK did a good job as president.

But when it comes to promoting and protecting their family, the Kennedys are fantastic. How else could the reputations of John and Jackie or Ted or RFK or John Jr. keep their sterling glow despite affairs, marriage to a coarse billionaire for his money, death of a girlfriend, affair with a star, nepotism and ineptitude? Every biography that comes out, every TV series, every negative accusation gets squashed by the remaining Kennedys before it gets off the ground.

The most recent example is the History Channel mini series on JFK that was completely in the can when Caroline  stepped in. Apparently she threatened to withdraw her money and publicity with an upcoming book and the cable TV channels dropped  their plans faster than Teddy could down a Chivas.

Not so with the Reagan children. Daughter Patty Davis  embarrassed herself throughout Reagan’s term and beyond. She  jettisoned his last name  in favor of her mother’s. She  posed for Playboy in direct contrast with Reagan’s moral beliefs.  Now Ron Jr. has decided to undercut his dad’s reputation even more than he had  previously by allegations in his new book.

In today’s Parade magazine excerpts, Jr. lets it rip.

“Three years into his first term as president, I felt the first shivers of concern that something beyond mellowing was affecting my father,” he writes.  “The Iran contra affair was a perfect example of the sort of mess Dad was ill suited, at any age, to reckon with once it blew up in his face.”

I wonder what Ollie North would say about this. And perhaps he will.

Jr.  began to think he needed to help his dad, citing that he would try to help with the debates or even on policy. Ron thinks he was a better thinker than his dad and thinks dad thought so, too. “He told me you make him feel stupid,” my mother once shared. Perhaps he did. Stupid to have had such a son.

In the debate with Mondale, Jr. ‘s “heart sank as he floundered his way through his responses. He looked tired and bewildered.”  The slurs continue. – and in the most insidious way – suggesting something to the reader and then pretending to disclaim i t.

“I don’t want to give the impression that my father was mumbling incoherently during this or any period.” Then why say that? Jr. continues, believing that perhaps his dad had Alzheimer’s while in office. “Does this delegitimize his presidency?” Americans didn’t think so,  but now the haters have ammunition from Reagan’s own son’s pen.

When the outrage about an unflattering Reagan miniseries on CBS surface, I don’t remember Ron or Patty coming to their parents’ defense. Rather it was outraged conservatives who did the work for them.

You won’t catch a Kennedy ever saying a negative thing about their saints John and Robert. To them, it was Camelot – a magical time – even with the Bay of Pigs disaster, Krushev promising to bury us or the deepening involvement in Vietnam.

Maybe Ron and Patty should take a page from their book.

Once Again, Thank You President Bush

In the New York Times story today that details information on the Stuxnet  computer worm that ended up destroying 984 Iranian unranium centrifuges, an interesting “item” pops out.

Not immediately, not in the New York Times. But about half way through the story we find out that President Bush got the Stuxnet started in 2008 with Israel.  He even managed to get the cooperation of Germany, Britain and the Saudis. Not bad for someone the world supposedly hated.

Then, near the end of the piece, we find out that we got a lot of material from Libya after it gave up its nuclear program in late 2003. Who was president then? And, a shipment of their machines was sent to our own Oak Ridge laboratory for study.

In 2004 the CIA convened a group of nuclear experts who reccommended a secret test place be devised to work on the project. Evidently, that is what Isreal finally and successfully did.

In 2006, you’ll recall, the New York Times brazenly published the National Security Estimate. It  manipulated information from secret sources that undermined GWB’s Iran policy by denying their capabilities.

Fortunately for the world we have gained some time to stop Iran further, thanks to President Bush’s efforts.

You can read the story at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/world/middleeast/16Stuxnet.html?pagewanted=3.

Van Jones in Midtown Today

Van Jones, the former Green Advisor to President Obama, will headline a 29th anniversary celebration today at the Mid South Peace and Justice Center. The event, titled “Living the Legacy of Nonviolence, a Grass Roots Gala,” will be held at First Congregational Church at 1000 S. Cooper. The “church” has been the site of lots of progressive activity and is listed as the headquarters of ACORN, though you won’t seen a sign there designating it.

Jones will speak at a $40 a person banquet. Earlier he will be at Rhodes College from 3:15-4 for an informal session at the McCallum Ballroom in the Bryan Campus Life Center. Let’s hope some Rhodes College Republicans show up to challenge him.

According to an online story in The Commercial Appeal,  Jones “spent a lot of time in Orange Mound as a kid… I still have family in Memphis.”

Since Glenn Beck challenged him and he had to resign from his position at the White House, he joined the Soros funded Center for American Progress. His current thrust is to highlight BP’s profits and funnel some of their money to put towards green technology, especially in impoverished areas.

Health Care Reform in Tennessee

One of the interesting things to see, now that the Republicans have control of the Tennessee legislature and the governorship, is whether they will join the states fighting the Health Care bill.

We should.

Currently, about 24 states have lined up with Florida to fight it. That’s almost half the country and likely to grow. Tennessee must join them.

The Tennesseean reported Wednesday that Tea Party activists were on the Hill pressing them to go forward against it. Evidently they warned Republicans not to take them for granted and that they expect action. Tea Party organizer Ben Cunningham said health care reform was one of their priorities and they would hold legislators accountable.

Interestingly, the Nashville paper had a picture of Tea Party members meeting with Memphis representative Jeanne Richardson. They were in her office discussing health care reform. The Democrat, who won in  Midtown district 89 against our own Clay Shelton, cannot have liked what they had to say. Maybe next time they will help us fight her reelection.

Frayser High Is a Low

Channel 3 WREG aired a report the other night about Frayser High School’s  high number of pregnant students. The count was 90, a shameful number for the city and the neighborhood.

Lucianne.com has the video in her “must read” at the top of her website. Go and look at the comments. They range from disgusted to funny to poignant. One reader said “that’s why Johnny can’t read.” Others note the ridiculousness of making sure students avoid french fries and white bread (Michelle Obama’s concern) while immorality and irresponsibility are given short shrift. Many call Memphis a disaster, even a “sewer.”

If you, as one reader suggests, type Frayser High School Memphis on Google images, you see some pretty unflattering and alarming photos.

Sooner or later will Memphians wake up to the poor governing we’ve had under the Democrats?

RNC Election Today

The RNC meets today to elect a new chairman, or to reelect Michael Steele.

Voting will start around noon Central time and will be carried on C-Span.

Besides Steele, candidates are Ann Wagner, Maria Cino, Saul Anuzis and Reince Priebus.

Considering that Michael Steele only managed to get the RNC $7 million in 2010; that was only one sixth of what was raised in 2006. By contrast, the DNC raised 38 million, three times the 2006 total in 2010.  The RNC is also left with a huge debt of $20 million, the largest debt for decades.

Memorial or Just Another Campaign Stop?

If you read Obama’s speech delivered last night at the Tucson memorial rather than watched it, you probably have a better opinion of it.

First of all, you didn’t have to watch Obama’s usual preachy, stuffy, pedantic delivery. Or watch the nauseating scene of  someone using other peoples’ grief for political advantage. Not even die hard media Democrats would deny that there is an element of campaigning when a politician inserts himself into a tragedy.

He starts out all right, appropriately mentioning the victims. Surprisingly  his usual high number of “I’s” gave way to an abundance of  “we’s.”  The imperial we, however.

“We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions,” he said. OK. Old assumptions such as innocent til proven guilty or the right to free speech as assumed in that old Constitution document? He continued, “in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future.” Seems like a reference to his personal fears.

“Perhaps we question whether we are doing right by our children, or our community and whether our priorities are in order.” Obama continued “that process of reflection, of making sure we align our values with our actions.” A jarring note that suggests using Organizing for America, the SEIU or MoveOn.Org to get a leftist agenda accomplished?

“And if their deaths help usher in more civility in our public discourse, let’s remember that it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation, in a way that would make them proud.”

A diagram for this sentence, please! It’s a maze. Is he saying that the loss of a full life to a 9 year old girl is worth a few more civil words? What if it doesn’t? Does her mother agree with that, or the other victims’ families? And isn’t a civil and honest public discourse what Fox News and thinkers on the right do? Does MSNBC contribute to it or the New York Times? Don’t think so.

If you watched the speech, though, you might have thought you were at a pep rally or campaign stop rather than a solemn memorial service.

The “Together We Thrive” T-shirts on each seat can only be described as repugnant. What kind of thing is this? Is it a memento for  people to enjoy or a slogan the Obama campaign wants to test drive?  Wonder what the background is on that slogan, but it definitely has a Marxist tinge. The underlying thought is you can’t make it on your own. Smells like a 2012 theme.

The venue, a college arena stuffed with students  smacked of a campaign to get back the youth vote. The clapping and cheering seemed inappropriate for a funeral service. As one reader commented, “no lasers? No fog machines? Did someone yell Freebird?”

I wonder if the programs included a coupon for a free Slurpee. Tacky.

With an absence of priests, ministers or rabbis, it was all too political also to have a Mexican professor deliver a Native American blessing. Two political birds with one stone, you could say.

Somehow, Sarah Palin’s dignified and brief address, far away from the madding crowd. honored the victims – and our country – much better.