PLYMOUTH NOTCH, Vt. -- Two of my pundit colleagues -- David Brooks of The New York Times and Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal -- have written about this "boring" and "inconsequential" presidential campaign.
Perhaps the reason is that we've heard it all before. "There is nothing new under the sun," wrote the author of Ecclesiastes, but that doesn't mean old ideas that worked in the past can't be updated and applied to our time.
The Obama re-election team must be in panic mode. The president is stuck in a virtual tie with Mitt Romney in some polls and behind him in others, so in desperation it has reached out to the Big Dog, Bill Clinton, for help.
Clinton will speak next month at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in a Wednesday night position often reserved for the vice presidential nominee. Obama and Clinton have not had the most cordial relationship, but when you're drowning, your feelings about the lifeguard matter less than his ability to keep you afloat. And Obama is a sinking man.
Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy is in hot water with the LGBT community because he committed the cardinal sin in an age of political correctness: Thou must not speak ill of anything gays, lesbians, bisexuals or transgenders wish to do.
In an interview with the Baptist Press and later on a Christian radio program, Cathy, whose father, the philanthropist Truett Cathy, founded the company, defended marriage between a man and a woman and when asked about the company's support of traditional marriage said, "Guilty as charged. We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit." Cathy believes American society is rotting (and where is evidence to the contrary?) because the country has turned away from God.
By now the script should be familiar. A bombing or a mass shooting occurs and the media immediately look for a simple cause. Invariably, they turn to talk radio or some other conservative pit of "intolerance."
Within recent memory are tragedies like the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the 1999 massacre at Columbine, the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings and the 2011 shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others in Tucson. Some politicians and liberal interest groups have sought to link these and other violent incidents to the far right. There have also been incidents when some conservatives have tried to blame other tragedies on "liberals" "secularists" and abortion.
Stephen Covey, the management guru who died this week, would have had a hard time selling his books in Benjamin Franklin's America, or Abe Lincoln's. His best seller "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" would have been considered a self-evident truth, one drummed into earlier Americans by schools, churches and the Puritan ethic.
Today, Covey's thoughts about how to become a success by applying principles with a proven track record seem innovative and cutting edge. His work is a rebuke to the notion that government can do it all for you.
Mitt Romney's speech to the NAACP convention in Houston was -- according to one's political perspective -- a "calculated move on his part to get booed..." to help his white base (Rep. Nancy Pelosi), or a presentation to "independent thinking adult citizens" whom he treated as equals (Rush Limbaugh).
Having an adult conversation in a racially and politically polarized age is nearly impossible, especially when our current political culture does not require a solution to problems, only the use of rhetoric and symbols to gain political power.
In order to get the correct answer to anything, one must ask the right question. That is what former ABC News and current Fox News TV host John Stossel does on his weekly program. If ever there was "must see-TV," this is it.
Stossel's show on Saturday, June 30 was a classic. It was called "Government, Incorporated" and focused on what private industry can do less expensively and more efficiently than government. After watching it, I wondered why this isn't happening. Why does inefficient, costly and unresponsive government continue to grow while the people and companies that could do the work much better are regulated and taxed to death?
President Obama's attempt to spin the latest discouraging unemployment numbers as "a step in the right direction" is like telling passengers aboard the Titanic to ignore the sinking vessel and listen to the live music.
A Wall Street Journal analysis of the June unemployment figures offers little comfort, nor does it produce confidence that the economy will improve before the election.
When asked at the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 what the Founders had wrought, Benjamin Franklin famously said, "A Republic, if you can keep it."
That question might also be put to the five Supreme Court justices who voted last week to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, which mandates health insurance for most Americans, based on twisted logic that it is a tax and thus within the power of the Congress to impose on an already overtaxed people.
When is a tax not a tax? When President Obama says it isn't, or when the Supreme Court says it is?
Obamacare was sold on several fraudulent lines. The president knows the country doesn't want to pay higher taxes, given the deplorable way their government spends the money. And so the administration packaged it as something different.
BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules on the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (this was written before the decision), the Obama administration has indicated it will move forward with those parts of the unpopular law it can impose on the country.
Guidebooks are helpful when going on vacation. The U.K.'s National Health Service (NHS) is the best guidebook for Americans concerned where a nationalized health system might take us.
Don't you find it odd that the word extremism seems to apply only to conservative Republicans? Terminology often drives political discourse and those who control the terms often determine the outcome.
Establishment Republicans have too often been uncomfortable in their own skin. When they win elections, they sometimes seem unsure of what to do next. Democrats never seem to have this problem. They operate according to their core convictions and are never considered extreme. Instead, they are moderate, even normal. When Republicans stick to their convictions, they are branded with a scarlet "E."
LONDON -- One of many things left out of the film "The Iron Lady" was Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's warnings on the effects a single currency would have on the economies of European nations. Thatcher's premonitions place her among the great political prophets of all time.
On the single currency, Peter Oborne, a columnist for the London Daily Telegraph, writes, "Mrs. Thatcher foresaw with painful clarity the devastation it was bound to cause. Her autobiography records how she warned John Major, her euro-friendly chancellor of the exchequer, that the single currency could not accommodate both industrial powerhouses such as Germany and smaller countries such as Greece." Thatcher predicted the currency would harm poorer countries because it would "devastate their inefficient economies."
If the polls are right, the vote next Tuesday in Wisconsin on whether to recall Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican state senators could amount to a redial of their original victory. Voters who first elected the conservative Walker on a promise to fix the state's dismal economy and crushing debt appear ready to reaffirm their judgment.
They would be making the right decision given the results Gov. Walker appears to have produced.
On Sunday, Sept. 2, 1945, aboard the battleship USS Missouri at the end of ceremonies marking the unconditional surrender of Japan and the formal end of World War II, Gen. Douglas MacArthur spoke for a world weary of war and hoping for peace: "Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always."
That prayer was not answered as Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and a host of regional and tribal conflicts have preserved war, not peace, as the means by which too many attempt to settle their differences.
Evidence of big media's bias against religion that doesn't advance the secular and liberal agenda of the Democratic Party is beyond dispute. Any faith attached to a conservative agenda is to be ridiculed, stereotyped and misrepresented. Islam is a notable exception. The media appear to bend over backward not to offend Muslims.
The Washington Post on Monday, reporting from Carrollton, Ark., uncovered an event that occurred nearly 155 years ago and then sought to link it to the presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney: "On Sept. 11, 1857, a wagon train from this part of Arkansas met with a gruesome fate in Utah, where most of the travelers were slaughtered by a Mormon militia in an episode known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre."
It is one thing to talk about "fairness" when it comes to allowing gays and lesbians to marry; it is quite another to claim biblical authority for such relationships.
President Obama cited the "Golden Rule" about treating others as you would like to be treated, but in doing so he ignored the totality of Scripture and the Lord Himself, who alone gets to set the rules for human behavior.
Former NPR and current Fox News political analyst Juan Williams made an excellent point Monday night on "The O'Reilly Factor." Williams said the major reason President Obama had not endorsed same-sex marriage is because of the strong opposition to it in the black and Hispanic communities.
Who could have doubted, though, that the president favors expanding the definition of marriage to include gays and lesbians?
"Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr." is another of the Harvard professor's wonderful television series for PBS. This is "must-see TV" and a more than worthy sequel to three previous projects Gates has hosted about how some of us came to be what and who we are.
In this latest 10-part series, Gates explores the genealogical and genetic history of a diverse group of people, from entertainer Harry Connick Jr. and Pastor Rick Warren to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Brown University President Ruth Simmons. There are less famous people, but the famous get you hooked for the rest.
In the 1993 movie "Dave" the faux president (played by Kevin Kline) calls in his best friend (played by Charles Grodin) and they stay up all night balancing the federal budget, not by raising taxes, but by cutting unnecessary and wasteful spending.
If only it were that easy. Most presidents have talked about cutting spending, but few succeed because Congress holds the power of the purse and is reluctant to give it up.
After Richard Nixon lost the 1960 presidential election to John F. Kennedy and the California governor's race two years later (when he uttered the immortal line to the media, "You don't have Nixon to kick around anymore") the former vice president knew he must reinvent himself to run for president again in 1968.
Thus was born "the new Nixon," an attempt to transform himself from "the old Nixon" the public didn't like, into a warmer, softer, more approachable person. As it turned out, the "new Nixon" was simply the "old Nixon" with a new coat of political paint.
Dick Clark, who died Wednesday at 82, was called "America's oldest teenager." That's not only because he looked so good late into life, but also because he carried with him the teen memories of those of us who grew up watching "American Bandstand" on glorious black-and-white, small-screen television sets.
Every weekday afternoon, I would arrive home from school, say hello to Mom, grab a snack and plop down in front of the TV to watch a dance show broadcast live from South Philadelphia.
Virtually everything said and done in a presidential election year distorts the truth, much like concave and convex mirrors in a carnival attraction alter one's true reflection.
That kind of distortion occurred in the recent dustup over whether women who choose to stay at home can completely understand the economic challenges and personal struggles faced by women who choose, or need, to work outside the home while raising children.
BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- Here, where Titanic, the massive White Star Line luxury liner, was built -- the joke for years has been, "It was fine when it left here." This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ship "Not even God himself could sink...." and the centenary is being observed in diverse ways.
There are solemn remembrances. A "Requiem for the Lost Souls of the Titanic" is scheduled for St. Anne's Cathedral and there's a Titanic Commemoration Service and Unveiling of the Titanic Memorial Gardens at City Hall.
Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear three days of oral arguments in the healthcare lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, otherwise known as "Obamacare."
We now know the law was based on phony predictions about its cost. After promising the price would be under $940 billion over 10 years, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has issued a correction of its initial estimate, which appears to have been based on sleight of hand accounting tactics by congressional Democrats and the White House. CBO now projects the measure will cost taxpayers at least $1.76 trillion over a decade.
You've got to hand it to Democrats and the Obama re-election campaign. Like a quarterback who looks left to draw the defense away from his intended target on the right, Democrats have managed to divert our attention. Instead of debating President Obama's dreadful record on just about everything, Democrats have managed to get Republicans talking about sex and morality. Rather than figuring out what to do about Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons, Democrats have put Republicans on the defensive over the use of vulgar words applied to liberal women. For their use of equally offensive or similar words applied to conservative women, they mostly get a pass, because this isn't about the words; it's about politics.
The strategy seems to be working. After a week of debating, discussing and deploring what Rush Limbaugh said about Sandra Fluke, the Democrat-friendly Washington Post ran a front-page story last Saturday announcing "GOP gains dwindling among women." They must be toasting each other at President Obama's 2012 national headquarters in Chicago.
"Seeing is believing" is an ancient idiom. It teaches that a dispute can often be resolved by presenting physical evidence.
Opponents of the ultrasound bill passed last week by the Virginia legislature and expected to be signed soon by Governor Bob McDonnell, thought they could stop the measure because they said it would require an invasive vaginal probe to determine the age of the fetus in an early-stage pregnancy. The bill passed after it was modified to mandate only a non-invasive procedure.
There have been many "gaps" in modern politics. There is the gender gap, the generation gap and now the God gap, which is the gulf between people who take God's instructions seriously and those who don't. Which side of the gap you're on could influence your vote.
Pat Buchanan might have seen the end of the line coming at MSNBC when last month network president Phil Griffin commented on his latest book, "Suicide of a Superpower," by saying, "I don't think the ideas that (Buchanan) put forth are appropriate for the national dialogue, much less on MSNBC."
When Buchanan was let go last week after 10 years as a commentator on the network, no one was surprised.