This blog will chronicle my comments and other critical articles, cartoons and videos. Time has come for us to put America first and Party 2nd. This page will have the good, bad and ugly of Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians alike, but will always offer pluralistic solutions effective June 8, 2012

Friday, December 6, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The GOP might as well be dead

Indeed, Republicans will lose the house majority in 2014. They simply don't get it, they do not listen to the public polls and don't connect with fellow Americans either.  Mike Ghouse

Courtesy: Washington Post

The Growth and Opportunity Project, aka “the autopsy,” was heralded as the Republican Party’s clear-eyed assessment of its 2012 presidential defeat. Autopsies are done on dead things, and ever since its March 2013 release, the GOP has done everything possible to stay dead.

The Republican Party is dead to African Americans. Not that there was much of pulse to begin with. Romney won 6 percent of the black vote to 93 percent for Obama, which isn’t surprising since Romney was looking to unseat the nation’s first black president. But it is also not surprising considering all of the voter suppression efforts around the country.

That the GOP ought to try to appeal to African Americans was recognized in the autopsy. “There are numerous outside groups that are studying the best way for the Republican Party to better reach African American voters,” the report pointed out. “The Republican Party should leverage the best practices identified by such organizations.” You employ that “best practices” nonsense when you and your staff haven’t a clue what to do. And it’s clear that if Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee who is black, were still head of the party, at least two egregious episodes would not have happened.

A tweet from the party’s official Twitter account on Sunday would not have celebrated Rosa Parks on the anniversary of her historic bus-boycott arrest by lauding “her role in ending racism.” Sure, the tweet was later corrected. But, come on, people. The lowest level black person at the RNC could have told them that the tweet as flat-out wrong and offensive. Not that anyone would have listened, assuming there are any low-level black people there.

That RNC tweet was so egregious that when I asked Steele about it via e-mail yesterday, all he could muster was a pitying response. “What can one say about such a gross misunderstanding of the African American experience in America.”

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Sarah Palin and Larry Klayman (r) (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Sarah Palin and Larry Klayman (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Another gross misunderstanding of the African American experience in America took place on Oct. 13. That was when a young man unfurled the menacing Confederate flag in front of the White House, home to a black family, as part of the protest of the government shutdown. And that was after grassy knoller Larry Klayman had called on on the president at an earlier rally “to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come out with his hands up.” A rally where Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, also spoke. And nary a peep from the grown-ups of the party about any of this. Not the palling around with conspiracists. Not the Confederate flag. But to continue dabbling in blatant disrespect of Obama — as current RNC Chair Reince Priebus did when he said the president cultivated “a culture of hatred” — is to continue to write off African Americans.

The Republican Party is dead to Latinos. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney won 27 percent of the Hispanic vote compared with 71 percent for President Obama. Therefore, winning back the Latino vote was paramount to the GOP resurrection effort, and changing its tone on immigration reform was a key part of it. “In essence,” the report notes, “Hispanic voters tell us our Party’s position on immigration has become a litmus test, measuring whether we are meeting them with a welcome mat or a closed door.” The Senate put out the welcome mat in June. The House slammed the door hard in November. “We have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill,” Speaker John Boehner told reporters last month. So much for the Latino vote.

Since the truth-telling of the first 12 pages of the GOP autopsy, the Republican Party has energized the black vote for the Democrats, and it’s alienated Latino voters. How it plans to regain national relevance — let alone regain the White House — without the latter is beyond me.
Gov. Chris Christie celebrates his reelection. (Mel Evans/AP)
Gov. Chris Christie celebrates his reelection. (Mel Evans/AP)
Oh, and if you’re tempted to say, as I was, that there was a lesson for the GOP in black and brown in the reelection of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, think again. He won 51 percent of the Hispanic vote because he promised to support the Garden State’s version of the DREAM Act, which is making its way through the legislature. The early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, who will need the far-right conservative base to win it, flip-flopped on that promise last week.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Benghazi syndrome

Agree with Mieczyslaw's view on Benghazi. I am sick of my fellow Republicans, looks like we do not have anything good to offer to the country and resort to this - Mike Ghouse

As a Foreign Service officer in Libya, I saw firsthand how politics hurt our interests there and beyond.

  • by Mieczyslaw P. Boduszynski  
  •  Dec. 1, 2013  
  •  original
Sen. Lindsey Graham and others on Capitol Hill are demanding further inquiries into the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, apparently convinced that the Obama administration is withholding crucial information. But I often wonder whether Graham (R-S.C.) and others who exploit the Benghazi issue to attack the president realize that their politicking affects the ability of American diplomats to carry out their work.
I served as a U.S. Foreign Service officer in Libya before, during and after the attack, and I saw firsthand how playing politics with Benghazi directly hurts our interests in Libya and beyond.
At the time of the attack, on Sept. 11, 2012, I was the public affairs officer at the Tripoli embassy, responsible for broadening our relations with the new Libya by forging ties between Americans and Libyans. That kind of bond-building had been virtually impossible during the 42 years of Moammar Kadafi's rule, but I was able to reach out to members of the media, academics, writers and other cultural figures, civil society activists and representatives of women's and ethnic minority groups. They were generally eager to engage.
U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was a great advocate of such contact, but that didn't mean we weren't careful. Before the attack, we had a range of security protocols in place. They were flexible enough, however, to allow us to meet with Libyans from all walks of life at cafes, restaurants and a variety of institutions. We visited museums and cultural sites and spent hours at the university discussing possible academic linkages between American and Libyan universities. I was scheduled to join the ambassador in Benghazi to open a small American library on Sept. 12.
Successive polls have shown that Libyans hold very positive views of the U.S., thanks to America's support for the 2011 revolution, and Ambassador Stevens was determined to build on that goodwill. That was good foreign policy. As a largely pro-American Arab and Muslim country, Libya represents a tremendous strategic opportunity for the U.S. Building a strong bilateral relationship would help to reduce the appeal of extremism and further American interests in countless areas, security included.
But, in the wake of the attacks, security at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli (630 miles from Benghazi) was tightened immeasurably, programs were canceled and American staff were evacuated. I was one of a small group of people who stayed behind to continue the diplomatic outreach. But we were vastly, almost comically, outnumbered by security staff and prevented from leaving the embassy except on the rarest of occasions. As a result, we were cut off from a regular flow of information vital to both security and diplomacy.
We tried to do what we could, but given their history of living under a paranoid dictator, Libyans were understandably wary about phone conversations. And with such a scaled-down staff, there simply weren't enough bodies to carry out the full range of diplomatic functions.
Diplomatic engagement was reenergized with the arrival of a new ambassador this summer and the announcement of a U.S.-British-Italian plan to provide much-needed military training for Libyan troops. But intense political scrutiny in Washington has continued to prevent the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli from striking the right balance between mission and security.
As we have seen in other parts of the world, once an embassy becomes a fortress, it is hard to change course. Extreme risk-aversion becomes the norm among decision-makers responsible for security in both Washington and the field. As a result, embassies are cut off from their operating environment.
Congress provides crucial oversight over foreign policy. It was appropriate, after the Benghazi attacks, for Congress to examine the attacks and evaluate security shortcomings and failures. This was done, and a report was also issued by the State Department's Accountability Review Board. Since then, there has been no new information, no evidence of conspiracies and no smoking gun. Special hearings called in May revealed nothing new. It's time to move past the tragedy and get back to work.
In November, on what has become known in Libya as "Black Friday," some 40 unarmed protesters were killed by militia members in Tripoli. Focusing on the past events in Benghazi instead of finding ways to help Libya overcome such security challenges is a disservice to the goals of the 2011 Libyan revolution and the support America and its allies provided to it.
Thousands of U.S. diplomats do their jobs every day, conscious of the dangers they face but accepting of the risks that come with the job. Excessive security that interferes with their jobs doesn't serve our interests abroad or make us safer at home. The politicians who play political football with Benghazi should be ashamed of themselves.
Mieczyslaw P. Boduszynski was a Foreign Service officer with the State Department from 2004 to 2013. He is now an assistant professor of politics and international relations at Pomona College.