Just finished reading a bio of our 12th president, Zachary Taylor written by Jack Bauer, not that Jack Bauer though. I am always fascinated by the things that draw my interest in my presidential reading ( I’m slightly over halfway, 22 of 43). This is true in a dual way. Number one, I enjoy taking note of how historical figures cross paths with one another. Secondly is how something in every administration can be applied to things that follow in the future.
Taylor was a career military man like a number of other presidents, Harrison, Eisenhower, Grant ( who served under his command) to name a few. He was very apolitical and in fact, when nominated by thhe Whig party in 1848, had never even voted. He scarcely campaigned which turned out well, since he was somewhat intemperate with his comments and a bit petulant at times.
Let me backtrack a bit because his actual political career lasted only about 2 years from nomination to his untimely death in 1850 , probably from gastroenteritis. He, according to Bauer, was somewhat of a mediocre general, given to a very conservative approach. He had some successes, most due to the efforts of his junior officers, one being his former son-in-law, Jefferson Davis. Nonetheless he moved up through the ranks and became a general and was nicknamed Old Rough and Ready, mainly for his very plain manner of dress and identification with his troops/
He seems to have been a compromise candidate to forestall Henry Clay but nonetheless was strongly supported by Lincoln and Robert E Lee.
He won a rather close election and took office as the real Washington outsider, Jimmy Carter to the contrary. He was somewhat unprepared for the office and during his brief tenure had rather rocky relations with Congress. Recognize anyone in those statements, especially the unprepared part?
He was somewhat limited intellectually and emotionally. To those of his day, he was an enigma and still remains so today, For me, it is one of those wat if situations. He was elected in large part because a 3rd part candidate ,former president Martin van Buren, siphoned off votes from Secretary of War Lewis Cass. Had van Buren not run, Cass could very well have won even over a relatively popular general. So, Taylor joins that group who did not win a majority of the votes and barely won the electoral vote.
And even his victory was scarcely enjoyed since he died at age 66, less than 18 months after taking office.
Some quite interesting comments today from vice-president Joe Biden. First, a bit of history using Biden’s own words. This from September 9, 2007 in response to a positive assessment of the Iraq situation by Gen David Petraeous. Any security or tactical gains that have been made have no bearing on a stable government existing in Iraq. Prior to that date, Biden had even opposed the troop surge that Bush announced. Biden said that the surge would actually make things worse and not better. Besides, he said, no one thought the surge would work except Petraeus. In fact, Biden went on to say that even 100,00 more troops would not help. This mirrors what his fellow senator Barack Obama said.
We cannot impose a military solution in Iraq and no military expert that I have spoken to thinks it is possible. That was in January, 2007. By February, 2009 Obama had changed his tune and was applauding the military gains and the reduction in violence.
Ok, now to Biden on Larry King. Last night he strongly suggested that some 90,000 troops would be coming home by the end of the summer and that Iraq would be one of the greatest achievements of the Obama administration. .
Today, an intrepid reporter questioned Press Secretary Gibbs about that statement. What made the question even cooler is that he included the qualifiers that Obama opposed the surge and that Biden wanted to divide the country into 3 sectarian units. Unbelievable response from Gibbs. I don’t know how he said this with a straight face. Gibbs first said that the achievement would be getting the troops home. The reporter countered with the comment that said agreement to carry out this was signed before Obama took office. Gibbs responds with this quote that is freaking unbelievable. ” The vice-president been deeply involved in fixing the political process there so that elections can be held and our troops can, uhhh, come home as scheduled, uh, this summer.” So, now we learn that Biden fixed Iraq. What an amazing guy. That is what has been doing when he travels to Iraq.
What may be the scariest thing of all is if Obama and Biden,et al actually believe this stuff. And maybe Iraq will be” their” greatest achievement, except it won’t even be their achievement. Truly amazing. As a fellow blogger likes to say, ” good freakin grief!”
Or,”who’s in charge here? Alas, this well could describe the situation in the earthquake ravaged Haiti. ( By the way, we know now what caused the earthquake. Hugo Chavez has announced that it was caused by a new U S weapon. His statement would by ludicrous beyond belief if not for the fact that there are people who will believe it. And others who blame it on George Bush.) Now back to our original subject.
My son and I were talking briefly about things in Haiti and one or both of us commented on Haiti’s state before the earthquake. They already had a barely functioning government and crushing poverty and now this devastation caused by a massive earthquake. Virtually anywhere else in the world would have better positioned to deal with the aftermath than Haiti.
So, what is happening there? The country’ s leadership is either dead or invisible. The United Nations has suffered grave losses in personnel and facilities so who takes charge, provided security, operates the airport etc.? It seems, almost by default, that the U S military has taken charge ( see title quote by Francois Rabelas) of the country in a sense. And that brings a vast amount of criticism, from numerous sources.
People such as our friend Chavez, good ol Daniel Ortega from Nicaragua, the group Doctors Without Borders, Bolivian leader Evo Morales, various French groups and other humanitarian groups. Our troops are in a no-win position. Someone has to do what they are doing. And no , they are not there to occupy the country. Without some semblance of order the over one billion dollars that has been pledged so far will be squandered, stolen or worse.Our own Time magazine is calling it a” compassionate invasion.” Thanks for nothing fellows.
82nd Airborne troops are already there, probably some Marines and Navy as well as directed by Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen. So, just one question, maybe two for all these clowns who are protesting. Who do want to handle all this stuff ? Political commentator Janet Daley, writing in the U K Telegraph called it a case of ” America is always wrong, part 85.” Reckon the French are just jealous. She made this telling point. If our interventions are kept to a minimum, they are “callous” and ” selfish.” If we accept full responsibility we are engaged in “imperialist occupation.”
For the troops that are there, I wish you God speed. We know you will do your country proud.
While, we wonder about airline security and potential terrorist attacks and whether the system worked or not, there are some interesting noises coming from Moscow. And, making those noises is none other than Vladimir Putin, the real head of Russia. You knew that last part already, right? Check out some of these comments in an article from the UK Times. By the way, he was at Vladivostok while speaking. Big Russian naval base, might have heard of it. His comments come just weeks after those made on Russian television in which he praised Stalin for building a superpower and winning a war.
He said today that Russia must forge ahead in developing new weapons to prevent the United States from doing”whatever they want.” He is traveling around the Far East of Russia in a rather high-profile trip for this time of year. During this trip he keeps stepping into those areas supposedly the purview oof Mr Medvedev, his hand picked seat warmer, I mean successor. Wonder if Putin can wait till 2012 to reassume the visible reins of power?
Never forget the bear.
Located 50 miles north of New York City on the banks of the Hudson River is the United States Military Academy. Founded in 1802, the Academy has graduated over 50,000 cadets into the service of our country. We know many of the names. Grant, Lee, Eisenhower, Pershing, and McArthur are just a few of the honored alumni. Six members of Congress have direct connections to the Academy. Four were faculty members and three Republican congressmen; Geoff Davis and Brett Guthrie of Kentucky, and John Shimkus of Illinois are graduates, as is Sen Jack Reed, D, R I.
I wonder if any of these congressmen or senators will any comments about Chris Matthews referring to Obama’s trip to West Point as maybe going to the enemy camp. Matthews has sais much with which I disagree and I will long remember the”tingles” comment. But to make even a passing reference (which he sort of backs away from) to West Point as the enemy camp for the country’s commander-in-chief, just totally baffles me. The more i think of it, the more irritating it becomes. I have to wonder, does Matthews really believe that statement? I have no doubt that there are a number of left leaning journalists who probably do. We support the troops, just not their mission. Yeah, right.
He has since apologized and for that I applaud him. Let us hope that it can become a bit of a learning experience. Say, engage brain before operating mouth, maybe. Do you think a little road trip to see the place for himself would be agood thing? Nah, probably not.
Since our greatest former president is beginning to age just a bit, it is about time to train his successor at roaming the world and taking care of everything that needs to be taken care of . Yes, drum roll please, it is the one and only Sen John Kerry, D, Ma. The Senator has just returned from his latest trip to Afghanistan where he persuaded President Karzai to accept a run-off vote.
It seems that Kerry has turned the traditional role of head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee upside down. Our Clintonite friend, David Gergen says that it is”extremely rare that any president calls on an individual outside the executive branch to do as much representative work and diplomacy as Sen.Kerry.” Should Sec.Clinton be worried that her time is short as her influence seems to be waning a bit? Bear in mind that both Obama and Kerry were mentored by the late Sen Ted Kennedy. Obama burst on to the national stage in 2004 with a speech at Kerry’s nominating convention and seems to hold the senior senator from Massachusetts in high regard.
Now, both Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and the Associated Press go th great lengths to tout Kerry’ s expertise. Says Gibbs, he… is somebody who has a broad range of experience and an in-depth knowldge of issues, ranging from energy and climate change to health care to foreign policy.” Wow, is that a ringing endorsement or what? Plus, he will never dare to challenge me for the White House. Oh, I just tossed that phrase in there as a bonus.
And now, the Associated Press takes a turn. “Obama cherishes, greatly values the experience and insight of JohnKerry. And,last but not least. There is a framed note on the wall of Kerry’s senate office, given to him by Obama on the day of his inauguration. “‘I’m here because of you.” Just about brings a tear to your eye, does it not? Of course, there is a lot of truth there. Had Kerry won the 2004 election, Obama could never have run in 2008.
So, we do we call this great expert? He’s not a Cabinet member, nor a czar, but he needs a title greater than just senator. Uber senator, maybe?
Yes, folks only here in our sorta still great country could we talk about these things in the same post. Jay Leno, President Obama, Russia and Iran. There is unfortunately an obvious and growing connection between items three and four in our list. One slight aside concerning Russia, however. There are reports about the possibility of Russian bombers being based in Cuba and Venezuela. That Hugo Chavez is such a kidder, isn’t he?
Anyway, back to our original train of thought. The White House has confirmed that the president will be appearing on Jay Leno on Thursday of this week, one day after Keith Olbermann( no comment needed) shows up.It is being billed as the first presidential appearance on a talk show since the election. Now, correct me where I’m wrong since I only see excerpts of the show due to its late hour and my ” old” age. There are usually entertainers; comedians, singers, actors etc along with a comedy monologue. Now one must ask, why would the President of the United States choose to appear in such a format?
I don’t know for certain but I have a few ideas. The President has been trying to talk down Iran, so to speak, from proceeding along its merry, nuclear pathway. He even resorted to sending a letter to Russia, asking them to intervene on our behalf. Response from Moscow, Nyet, nyet and double nyet. Or as we might put it, you have got to be kidding. So, here is political genius at work. Obama goes on Leno and pitches his plan to the Iranians( you know that Iranian President Ahmadinejad watches Leno) with the able assistance of the jut-jawed humorist. Brilliant, the Iranians will probably call in during the show, eager to agree.hey, this makes at least as much sense as offering to give up American military bases in central Europe if Russia would help( yes he did do that) mediate.
And for icing on the proverbial yellow cake, there are foreign policy “experts” and journalists who wouldn’t worry too much about Iran getting the bomb.
Shalom, my friends, shalom.
Lots of activity , both overt and otherwise involving Russia headed by one Vladimir Putin ( former KGB – Ha ) There is a lot going on here, some of which is visible and some of which is implied . One of many questions is , do we do anything other than talk tough and send humanitarian aid to those in need ? Since I started this post things have gone from bad to worse in the country of Georgia . I saw a Wall Street Journal article today that described Georgia as battered which is not good by any definition . United States officials, including Secretary of State Rice and President Bush continue to use strong language in urging Russia to withdraw its forces and respect Georgia’s territorial integrity . Meanwhile French officials who helped broker the ceasefire say that that they see signs a pullback of Russian forces is beginning . Unfortunately , no one else seems to see those signs as Russian military activity continues . One additional comment , was it not a brilliant tactical move move by the Russians to launch their offensive or whatever you call it , during the Olympics ? I have another perspective on these events which I hope to elaborate on tomorrow . Meanwhile , if you are so inclined pray for the Georgian people .
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