Thursday, September 30, 2010

Christine O'Donnell's Evangelical Problem

As a Christian, I know that forgiveness is something we have to grant here on earth if we want to get to heaven, but in politics, asking forgiveness has become a political ploy.
In the Gospels, Jesus Christ states clearly in two places that one thing won't be forgiven:
Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin. (Mark 3:28-29)
Therefore, I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. (Matthew 12:31-32)
Christine O'Donnell may have a bigger problem than this Senate race.

Is hanging out on Satanic altars an affront to the Holy Spirit? Is subsequently making jokes about it while cashing in? (One can only assume that Bill Maher pays his guests on his dog-and-pony show. Plus, Christine was paid in the media attention she got out of talking to Bill Maher.)

Has Christine O'Donnell recanted her experimental time playing with the occult?

Surely 99.44 percent of the time no one would care about what this woman believes and when she believed it. However, when someone is setting themselves up as a moral vanguard, these questions are legitimate.
No one can look into the eye of God and know what the Almighty will do with this situation at the end of her days. Those in Delaware just have the days that sit in front of them now to make a call.

Delaware is a fairly diverse state for its size. It may only have three counties, but it has substantial urban areas of Wilmington and Dover, lots of farmland, and ocean playgrounds. Think of a more relaxed New Jersey. And there is a substantial number of Evangelicals in the Diamond State. Are these revelations going to cause cognitive dissonance as they go to the polls to vote?

I have used the quotations from Paul's Letter to Titus on numerous occasions:
For a bishop as God's steward must be blameless, not arrogant, not irritable, not a drunkard, not aggressive, not greedy for sordid gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, temperate, just, holy, and self-controlled, holding fast to the true message as taught so that he will be able both to exhort with sound doctrine and to refute opponents. (Titus 1:7-9)
Christine O'Donnell is asking to be a bishop of our country. As someone actively courting the Evangelical vote, how does she fit into this mold of leadership?
Are Paul's words about leadership still applicable today?
Will Evangelical voters be able to forgive Satanic ritual and make Ms. O'Donnell a bishop of their secular fold?

Is Chris Coons, the opponent in this race, legitimate in playing this card if the race gets tight? After all, the man has a Master's in Ethics from Yale Divinity School. Evangelicals may be tempted to look seriously at a Democrat that has a serious background and grounding in things theological. Coons can attack O'Donnell legitimately at her base. Court this vote, and I think he could reach it. He would have a shot at getting 90 percent of the vote.

That, more than anything, could derail a tea-party express.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I Fear Sanity (and Combs)

The Stewart / Colbert March is the one I have waited for over the past year. I will be there.
I will snark, but reasonably.
I will yell, but quietly.
On their Facebook pages (Sanity Link / Fear Link) over 200,000 have committed to at least one of these rallies. Many like me, who sanely fear, signed up for both. Given the intense build-up this will get over the next month it is not unreasonable to think that double this number may attend.

The timing of this twin rally is a gamble. The Fear and Sanity in DC Rally lands on the last, most intense, weekend of the campaign season. The number of people who would otherwise be home, in district, making phone calls, building A-Frames, canvassing - is staggering.

If I were a campaign manager for a congressional seat, I would be pulling more of my hair out because my best people are going to be in DC at crunch time.

Hmmm, why not the weekend of the 23rd? 
As Jon Stewart announced this rally he spoke about the scheduling. He's calling the shot on this and that's great. Being a parent, I get why you need to be home for Halloween. It is just too important. He also mentioned the shows would be in DC the week before.

Wow, what a great way to build up this event. A long parade of at-risk pols and those Democrats ready to romp will be what the Democrats need to take on the Party of Tea. As an orchestrated slow release of feel good before the caffeine jolt of a rally; it can work.

The rally will come 3 days before the election. This will wash out ANY last minute surprises that the GOP may have in store. It will also prevent the Democrats who know how to eat their own feet, from foot-in-mouth disease. They can't screw this up.

Will the Comedy Central Crew be able to create enough of a political adrenaline rush that can last until Tuesday evening when the polls close?

If they can pull it off and turn the angry Tea Party Express into the expressionless and numb, the credit will go to this group of individuals. The Democratic Party has been on the ropes as is gives up political yardage by the mile.

This is the goal line stand. I am happy to have:

The Clowns to the left of me and
The Jokers to the right.

BTW, If you cannot be there:

Get a cardboard cutout of yourself

A wooden stake

Send it with someone who is going to the rally.
We need your spiritual image for the head count.
If they can bring it back, set it up at the polls as a reminder that "you" were there.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Attack of the Sestak Clones

Actually this isn't about Congressman and Senate Candidate Joe Sestak, per se. It is about something happening over the last six years in the Southeast corner of Pennsylvania.

Congressman Joe Sestak isn't the prototype for the cloning. That honor goes to Iraqi Freedom Vet, Greg Philips. Greg retired from the Seabees as a Lt Commander. Seabees are essentially the Navy's Corp of Engineers. They go into tough spots and work engineering miracles. Greg is an architect and attorney by trade. He's a good at both disciplines too.

In late 2003, word was that Greg was thinking about a suicide mission - aka becoming a sacrificial lamb. Greg was going to unseat Representative Curt Weldon. Having lived in Weldon's district on and off because of gerry-meandering, I knew Weldon was a better congressman to the Balkans than Audubon (my hometown). I live in Montgomery County, as does Greg, but about 60-65% of the district sits in Delaware County (Delco). Parts of the district are in Chester County - but we don't talk about THOSE guys.

Delco (and you thought it was just a battery) has been controlled by the GOP since about the Civil War. It is funny how these Republicans out-lived Communism (I wonder how the Delco GOP will do competing with cockroaches after a good nuking). But Democrats did have a REALLY good Congressman here for a while; Rev. Bob Edgar was swept in by Watergate. So it is possible that if all the cylinders click together the Democrats can win.

The PA-7th district is home to a lot of defense industry. Boeing lives at one part of the district. There is a lot of retired military in the area. Perception at the time in these parts; and I guess across the country, was that the Democrats were soft on Defense and low on experience.

Did I mention that Greg is an Iraqi War Vet as well as an architect and attorney? (a prototype?)
Curt Weldon had never really been seriously challenged for his seat. Either a candidate would have too little money or too much baggage or whatever. Democrats would get beaten like a drum.

In 2004 the top of the ticket had a war hero running the show, John Kerry (pre-Swift boating). It was looking good. Some cylinders were locking into place. More cylinders clicked when candidates from other parts of the district bowed out and Greg got the nod. It was a nice primary win.

In the back of our minds we knew that Greg could be deployed, but we thought that there would be no way a GOP controlled government would deploy a candidate for office. We talked about that possibility but dismissed it as sheer lunacy. We could have a field day with it. Curt Weldon moves an opponent into a war zone. Can you say Uriah?

We underestimated the lunacy. Greg's unit got deployed. We thought about trying to keep Greg on the ballot. If for no other reason, it would generate good press all over the place. He wanted no part of it because it would split his mind while in theater. It was more important for him to focus 100% on his troops. In mid-summer we said good-bye to Greg. We found a replacement for Greg, Dr. Paul Scoles, but it wasn't to be. The drumming continued in November.

But the GOP was obviously scared. Weldon blinked. Amazingly, Greg was back in town around the start of 2005. I don't care who will try to allay my Rube-Goldberg-Conspiracy-Theory-Constructing-Mind on this, but my opinion is that strings got pulled to get Greg out of the way for the election.

What it did tell me was that the Democrats could win in a "blue-dog" district. Make no mistake for all the Haverford Colleges and Swarthmore Colleges that live in the 7th, it is a conservative machine here.

Greg found a flaw in the conservative armor. Too many GOP officials have not served anywhere - Chicken Hawks having no problems spilling blood. This flank can be exploited by intelligent, qualified men and women who have served.

In 2006, Greg wanted to take another shot at the seat. By this time the scent of a ripe seat was picked up by Admiral Joe Sestak (Joe's Link), who grew up in the Delco part of the district. Sestak had his ducks in line and Greg knew he couldn't compete, so he bowed out. Sestak easily took the primary.

Weldon's own hubris got him in the end. Some unforced errors, an FBI investigation, and a mood souring on the GOP helped another Iraqi War Vet make it to Congress. Sestak was elected in 2006. To stay there Sestak opened his office 7 days a week and made voter services an art-form. In 2008 the GOP candidate could not see Sestak with a telescope. Sestak could have been a lifer in the PA-7th.

In 2006, another Iraqi War Vet, West Point Professor, and JAG officer; Patrick Murphy joined Joe Sestak in Congress. Representative Murphy's 8th District includes parts of Northeast Philly, Montgomery and Bucks Counties - ringing the Northern parts of the region. He is the 2006 model of Sestak Clone - (with all due respect to the professor, the Admiral gets the headline because of the 7th District, rank, and the fact Sestak is running for Senate. Although, The Attack of the Murphy Clones would have sounded as good). (Link for Patrick)

The 2010 models of the Sestak Clones include State Representative Brian Lentz, a former prosecutor, and - you guessed it - Iraqi War Vet. Bryan is also a former Airborne Ranger, serving in the 82nd Airborne Division and among his official commendations is the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and the Bronze Star for Service. Being in the 7th District, Bryan is looking to replace Sestak as the Admiral tries his act in the Senate. (Link for Bryan)

In yet another suburban Philly District, the 6th, Dr. Manan Trivedi, a young doctor from Reading is challenging a GOP member that barely hangs on time after time. Did I mention the good doctor was one of the first guys on the ground in Iraq who ministered to the injured? (This guy has a great immigrant back story too.) The 6th District is a bizarre gerrymander that winds from next to Philly, through Montgomery and Chester Counties and to the Outlet Malls of Reading. This covers the much of the western suburbs of Philly. (Link for Manan)

Across the country we can see the numbers of vets who have returned from active duty, step up and compete on the field of politics, and won. Of this batch, Greg is the prototype. Many times the first guy through doesn't always make it, but the hole he creates in the line allows others to run to victory.

I would love to get a chance to ask former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean next week if this is a by design for a candidate or did we just organically grow a bunch of really accomplished Democrats who served in the military?

Dean will be at a fundraiser for both Lentz and Trivedi next week. (Link for the event.)
I hope Greg will be there as the prototype.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chattering Classless

Gen. David Petraeus
Gen. Ray Odierno
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Attorney General Eric Holder
Press Secretary Robert Gibbs
Presidential Adviser David Axelrod
All of these heavy hitters have weighed in on the Rev. Terry Jones' plan of burning a Koran on September 11.
All have stated that the Gainesville, Florida Pastor is wrong and places our troops in further danger. International gains made diplomatically are being damaged by this bigoted parochial Pastor's effort to sell his book. (You can link to his web site to see it, but I won't do him the favor of placing his link here.)
Countering the face of our government are members of the American Chattering Class who are now saying that the Administration is wrong to take on this issue.
  • If the administration were to treat this guy like a gnat, he'd have no credibility.
  • Now that he has been noted by the Administration, he has instant credibility.
  • The Administration has made the problem worse!
The problem is our chattering class is not factoring in the chattering classes in the Muslim world. If we can have a right wing media dominated by a Rushbeckistan, with a capital of O'Rhannityville that will attack anything President Obama does with gusto for ratings, wouldn't it stand to reason that there is a similar set-up on the other side of the planet that is looking at US through a similar prism?

Anything that happens behind that prism is twisted for maximum embarrassment to not only President Obama, but American Culture itself.

If you were sitting in Afghanistan, Iraq, or even places where our military is not active like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan or Indonesia what kind of media sausage is being made over there?

Gen. David Petraeus is living on the ground in theater. He has boots on the ground and I think the American media needs to allow him to make the assessment about what the media in Islam-Land is doing to us.

Remember, part of this war is for hearts and minds.

Take the reaction to events like the NYC Mosque, the arson at the Mosque' construction site in Tennessee, now this Pastor's Koran burning stunt - isn't that good meat for a bitter sausage labeled:

"They are Americans and they hate Islam?"

I am sure there is some fat guy with a drug issue who bloviates on the airwaves in Islam-land that everything we do is evil. I wonder if there are radio talking heads that talk about restoring honor to places like Kabul, or Cairo, or Mecca. I am sure they can get a ton of people out to march for them.

We are getting our heads handed to us by the Muslim media. This pastor has helped create a nightmare for us over there. Not only diplomatically, but militarily. The general has spoken up at the right time with the proper message of the danger this money grubbing pastor has placed our troops in.

The Administration echoing and having the General's back on this topic is certainly the proper thing to do.
Now, if we can only get this pastor busted for

  • using his Freedom of Speech to attack another person's Freedom of Religion,
  • or inciting a riot,
  • or treason because he is giving aid to our enemies (in terms of recruitment materials)

then, we may have something.