Washington Is Sick And The American People Know It

24 09 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

Peggy Noonan, a former presidential speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, pens regular columns for the Wall Street Journal.  In her latest, she states:

This [November’s] election is more and more shaping up into a contest between the Exhausted and the Enraged.[2]

Amen . . . and Barack Obama and his Democrats know it.  Their supporters are exhausted, disillusioned and demoralized; and many are angry at his policies such as the Afghan War.[3] His detractors and opponents are angry, livid, galvanized and motivated; and they consist of Republicans, Independents[4] and disenchanted Democrats, some of whom are part of the Tea Party movement.

The handwriting is on the wall—and the blood is in the water—that he is likely to be a one-term president.  White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is rumored to be leaving; and Obama brain truster David Axelrod will be too, probably sometime next year.  Top economic adviser Larry Summers is departing; and the list goes on and on.  While there is generally attrition in any White House staff because of the long hours and staggering workloads and pressures on families, these departures can be viewed as “rats leaving a sinking ship.”

Noonan cites Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee as saying prophetically:

The more [voters] know, the less they like Washington.

At long last, the light is shining through.  The innate wisdom of the American people is in the process of being heard and felt.

When I left Capitol Hill after working there for three and a half years, there was one four-letter word that stood out in my mind, and it still does today: “S-I-C-K.”  I vowed that neither of my kids would ever work there.  I had seen raving narcissists and demagogues who were not nice people—and equaled or surpassed those in Hollywood where I had grown up.

I saw senators and congressman chasing and bedding female staffers between the ages of about 22-26, and wrecking their lives in the process.  When the women reached about 28, they were considered “over the hill,” and a new batch of fresh young faces would replace them.  I saw attractive young female staffers flock to the politicians like groupies are attracted to rock stars and other celebrities.  I saw lobbyists providing women for sex to important committee chairmen.

I saw power trips that were way out of proportion to the actual power wielded.  I saw senators and members of Congress pontificate on empty chamber floors, and pass legislation that often did not help anyone, but merely “congested” and “polluted” government for both the regulators and public alike.  Laws were put on the books almost ceremoniously to display motion and activity, even if they were truly bad laws that made little or no good sense—and none were ever taken off the books.  Programs were still being funded even though they had outlived their usefulness years if not decades before.

I saw lobbyists literally run Washington, because they had the skills and knowledge that the politicians did not have.  House staffs were small unless the member had seniority.  Hence, the input of lobbyists was essential to the passage of legislation.  They wrote it; and they got it passed and their clients benefited; and somehow—by hook or by crook—the politicians benefited financially or in other ways.  It was dirty, but those participating simply looked the other way.

In short, the American people, God love them, are waking up bigtime to the mess that is Washington, D.C.—a corrupt, politically-polarized toxic city.  Throw in the present economic problems that this country has not experienced since the Great Depression, which will be with us through at least the end of this decade[5], as well as Obama’s no-win Afghan War and other national security worries[6], and he and his Democrats are potentially in for a very rough ride.  Like Lyndon Johnson in 1968, it is doubtful whether Obama will be able to run in 2012, much less be reelected.[7]

Noonan cites the role of women in the coming election, and the fact they are worried about how the economy has been taking an enormous toll on their families, which will only get much much worse.  She quotes Rep. Blackburn as saying: “I look at this year as the Rage of the Bill-Paying Moms.”  Amen to that too . . . or as Sarah Palin calls them: the “Mama Grizzlies.”  And most of us know that those who are wise never mess with a mother Grizzly.

The chickens are coming home to roost in America, at least economically and politically.  Hold on tight.  It is apt to get very ugly.[8]

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, which specializes in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and http://www.naegele.com/naegele_resume.html).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g., http://www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com

[2] See http://www.naegele.com/documents/TheEnragedvs.theExhausted.pdf

[3] See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/are-afghanistan-iraq-and-pakistan-hopeless-and-is-the-spread-of-radical-islam-inevitable-and-is-barack-obama-finished-as-americas-president and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/26/obama-in-afghanistan-doomed-from-the-start/

[4] See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/the-rise-of-independents/

[5] See, e.g., http://www.americanbanker.com/issues/173_212/-365185-1.html and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/the-great-depression-ii and http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/tms/politics/2009/Apr/08/euphoria_or_the_obama_depression_.html and http://www.philstockworld.com/2009/10/11/greenspan%E2%80%99s-legacy-more-suffering-to-come/

[6] See, e.g.http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/

[7] See, e.g.http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/are-afghanistan-iraq-and-pakistan-hopeless-and-is-the-spread-of-radical-islam-inevitable-and-is-barack-obama-finished-as-americas-president/ and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/the-speech—is-barack-obama-smoking-pot-again/ and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/the-end-of-barack-obama/ and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/barack-obama-america’s-second-emperor/ and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/26/obama-in-afghanistan-doomed-from-the-start/ and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/

[8] The Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer has fine article about the Tea Party movement and the likely tsunami that will engulf Obama and the Democrats, which is worth reading too.  Among other things, he points out that in the bellwether state of Ohio, former President George W. Bush is preferred over Barack Obama by 50 percent to 42 percent.

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/23/AR2010092304746.html and http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/PPP_Release_OH_901.pdf


Actions

Information

25 responses

24 09 2010
naegeleblog

Obama’s Democrat Faithful Are Losing Hope, Which Spells Trouble

The National Journal is reporting:

The artist whose poster of Barack Obama became a rallying image during the hope-and-change election of 2008 says he understands why so many people have lost faith.

In an exclusive interview with National Journal on Thursday, Shepard Fairey expressed his disappointment with the president—a malaise that seems representative of many Democrats who had great expectations for Obama.

. . .

Fairey . . . said it’s easy to see why young voters are down on Obama and the Democrats. He lamented that health care reform was watered down, Tea Party activists have been emboldened, and his man has fallen short on bold campaign promises like closing Guantanamo Bay.

“There’s a lot of stuff completely out of Obama’s control or any of the Democrats’ control,” Fairey allowed. “But I think there’s something a little deeper in terms of the optimism of the younger voter that’s happening. They wanted somebody who was going to fight against the status quo, and I don’t think that Obama has done that.”

. . . [Fairey] said that he couldn’t design the same Hope poster today, because the spirit of the Obama campaign hasn’t carried over to the Obama presidency.

See http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews_excl/ynews_excl_pl3712

Cracks in the support of the Obama faithful are emerging, which at the very least may create apathy in November, and as 2012 approaches. With the Republicans, Independents and Tea Partiers energized and moving against Obama, his agenda and the Democrat Party already, disenchanted Democrats may foreshadow deep and lasting problems for him.

Like

26 09 2010
naegeleblog

Rahm Emanuel Leads Exodus Of Obama Aides From White House

The UK’s Independent has an article about this subject.

See http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/rahm-emanuel-leading-exodus-of-obama-aides-from-white-house-2089118.html

Like

27 09 2010
Katherine

Sir,
This site is outstanding and your writing lucid, even with unlovely subjects. I look forward to learning more about you and your topics.
Katherine

Like

27 09 2010
naegeleblog

Thank you, Katherine. How nice of you to say that. :-)

Like

29 09 2010
Katherine

Sir,

I had read you in between the demands of homework supervision, runs to Tae Kwon Do, and the creation of taco night.

I’ve now had time to read more, see your education and accomplishments, and I blush to think I had the temerity to call your writing lucid.

This site is like a treasure trove, and it seems to me a source of deep wisdom.

Thank you,

Katherine

Like

29 09 2010
naegeleblog

Thank you again, Katherine. You are very kind. :-)

Like

15 10 2010
Tom

I believe that most of the dysfunction in Washington is due to the rise of careerism in politics – a problem the Founding Fathers never imagined.

The first priority of every career politician seems to be fund raising for re-election, since the candidate with the biggest war chest usually wins. The cost of campaigning for a Congressional seat has escalated tremendously, mainly because of the high cost of television ads. Serving the constituency is a distant second priority to coddling corporate contributions and attending fund-raisers.

I grow more and more cynical with age, I guess. But I now believe that all career politicians are self-serving opportunists whose basic ethic is ambition.

Like

15 10 2010
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Tom, for your comments.

Many of our Founding Fathers were “career politicians” too. For example, you might wish to read the “Domestic Life of Thomas Jefferson,” which describes his extraordinary life through his letters and the letters of others, lovingly assembled and edited by his great-granddaughter. While he did not always aspire to be a professional politician, the demands of America kept drawing him back to government service.

See, e.g., http://www.amazon.com/review/R151AWYWI4HEVW/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

Yes, I agree with you: the costs of elections have escalated; and many politicians at the federal level spend much of their time just trying to raise money, which obviously influences their decisions. I have often said that the lobbyists “run” Washington, and they do.

Lastly, many career politicians at the federal level are narcissists, and their actions are consistent with that.

Like

10 02 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

It Wasn’t The Fight Webb Dreaded; It Was The Prospect Of Another Victory—And Having To Spend Another Six-Year Term In The U.S. Senate

This is a political assessment of why Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) decided not to run for reelection. Having worked in the Senate for three and a half years, and having dealt with the Senate for many years after that, I understand.

Senators only have two basic duties: (1) make speeches, and (2) try to enact legislation. The speeches get tired after a while, very tiresome; and legislation is enacted, but seldom (if ever) is it taken off the books—long after it has outlived its usefulness.

Aside from that, senators have larger staffs than members of the House; however, the need to engage in fundraising to pay for vastly more expensive campaigns is almost endless. Many of them are forced to raise money year around, and it is not a lot of fun. I have helped raise money for Senate and House campaigns, and donated to them as well.

Lastly, as the article points out:

Webb personally warned President Obama that the all-out push for health-care reform would be “a disaster” for the party. Webb’s sort of Democrat fell from favor within the party during the course of one senatorial cycle, and became a vanishing breed by last November.

When Webb declared himself out of a re-election run, it was widely supposed that he had little chance of winning anyway. This is probably true. His likely opponent in 2012 would have been George Allen, who only narrowly lost to Webb in 2006 even after running a campaign that was a classic of self-immolation. But Webb’s closest friends believe that it wasn’t the fight Webb dreaded, it was the prospect of another victory—and having to spend another term in the Senate.

He loathed the elemental chore of incumbency—the endless fundraising loop—and was temperamentally ill-suited to the pace and grind of Senate work. . . . His closest pals weren’t Beltway pundits, or his political peers, but the remaining band of Vietnam buddies that still rally to his side when summoned (as he has always rallied to theirs).

See http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-02-10/jim-webbs-senate-career-ends-peter-j-boyer-on-the-real-reason/

Like

24 03 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

Former Aide To Sen. John Ensign Indicted By Feds

USA Today has reported:

The husband of Sen. John Ensign’s former mistress has been charged with violating federal conflict of interest laws.

The U.S. Justice Department announced today that Douglas Hampton, a former top aide to the GOP senator, has been indicted on seven counts. The charges stem from violations of congressional rules that bar Senate employees from lobbying their ex-colleagues for one year after they stop working for Congress.

Ensign, who recently announced he would not seek another term next year, has been investigated by federal prosecutors and the Senate Ethics Committee for actions stemming from his affair with Hampton’s wife, Cynthia. Prosecutors said in December they would not charge Ensign for his role in helping Douglas Hampton obtain lobbying work.

The senator, once considered a rising GOP star, admitted in June 2009 of having the extramarital affair with Cynthia Hampton, who at the time worked for his campaign. Ensign also admitted that his parents gave the Hamptons $96,000 as a gift in April 2008.

Douglas Hampton was off Ensign’s Senate payroll as of April 30 that year. The indictment, handed down Thursday by a grand jury in the District of Columbia, alleges that Hampton represented an airline and energy company before Ensign’s Senate office as the two entities tried to get help from the federal Departments of Transportation and Interior.

The lobbying rules in Congress are aimed at slowing down what is known as the “revolving door” between working on Capitol Hill and working as a lobbyist, where one is paid to peddle influence.

Ensign is still the subject of the Senate ethics inquiry because he’ll remain[] in Congress until his term ends in January 2013. Hampton recently called on Ensign to “resign immediately” and spare his family from any further investigation.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said it is an “outrage” that the Justice Department would charge Hampton and not Ensign.

See http://content.usatoday.com/communities/onpolitics/post/2011/03/john-ensign-affair-senate-criminal-charges-/1

How outrageous is this! Ensign beds his aide’s wife, and the aide gets indicted while Ensign gets off scot free. This is how Washington works—which is among the many reasons why its “sickness” knows no bounds.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is correct that it is an “outrage.”

Like

8 06 2011
Liz

Dear Sir – I was directed here by the Daily Mail. I thank you so much for spotlighting this plague. No, I am not some raging teabagger, but a young, pretty cool female in her 20’s working in LA, who spent a semester in DC and was sickened by what I saw.

I actually lived with my (now ex) boyfriend for the 3 months I was there. We basically broke up because he changed from being a moralistic, altruistic, wonderful guy (he’s originally from North Carolina), into a chidlish, hormonal womanising a-hole (sorry to curse) and when I confronted him, told me that the *very prominent* congressman he worked for basically encouraged all his male staff to “think Clinton” and “go out there and get as much a** as possible”. Those were the exact words he used. I also witnessed many of the same situations you described above; and most of my peers, in one way or another, succumbed to the pressures of the older guys they were working for. I was fortunate enough to work for a really great lobbying group, staffed mostly by females.

Again, I’m not a prude – I was just hoping to get a little mileage out of the MPA I worked hard to achieve before heading back home. I’ve been pretty scarred by the sodom and gomorrah style happenings I witnessed and I just hope to God that something can be done about all of this soon, before we become the laughing stock of the world (like we’re not already!).

Best wishes, thank you for your blog and I respect your intelligence and wisdom.
-Liz

Like

8 06 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Liz, for your thoughtful and very important comments. I appreciate them greatly.

First, I am sorry that you experienced what you did. It never should have happened, period.

Second, what happens to young women on Capitol Hill should not occur at all. As stated in my article above:

When I left Capitol Hill after working there for three and a half years, there was one four-letter word that stood out in my mind, and it still does today: “S-I-C-K.” I vowed that neither of my kids would ever work there. I had seen raving narcissists and demagogues who were not nice people—and equaled or surpassed those in Hollywood where I had grown up.

Third, I am glad that you “survived” intact. I am only sorry that “most of [your] peers, in one way or another, succumbed to the pressures of the older guys they were working for.” My concern is that such experiences will scar them for life, because I have seen it happen to others. The women are used, abused, rejected and scarred.

Fourth, you ask how to prevent it, which is the key question. The only way, in my judgment, is to “tar and feather” the perpetrators, such as Congressman Anthony Weiner. He should be forced to resign from the Congress; and he should be indicted and serve time in prison. He has admitted what he has done, at least partially; however, much more will come out, I am sure—unless it is hidden from public view.

See, e.g., http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2000462/Anthony-Weiners-toe-curling-1996-interview-Cosmopolitan-revealed.html and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2000004/Anthony-Weiner-Twitter-crotch-shot-student-Gennette-Cordova-denies-affair.html and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1395011/Megan-Broussard-reveals-Anthony-Weiner-pursued-Facebook.html and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1395043/Sextee-1-The-40-year-old-Las-Vegas-blackjack-dealer-Anthony-Weiner-sent-explicit-messages-NINE-MONTHS.html and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1395041/Anthony-Weiner-Shamed-congressman-clings-opposition-calls-resignation.html and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2000386/Anthony-Weiner-scandal-2-women-claim-used-Capitol-assets-sexting.html and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1395049/Anthony-Weiner-Scandal-finally-overcomes-Weiners-wife-stand–NOT-humiliating-confession.html and http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/brooklyn/can_afford_to_quit_the_dc_day_job_bW10b5FRwsvEJxDTyi7MYI and http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304259304576378321851043768.html

Weiner’s actions must not be swept under the rug, as his colleagues on Capitol Hill may be prone to do. Only by criminalizing his conduct—and that of others—will it come to an end. Where are the women’s rights groups that should be calling for tough action against Weiner, and an end to such deplorable conduct? Their silence is deafening.

Fifth, “Weinergate” must be brought to a screeching halt. Like so many other spouses of our elected officials on Capitol Hill—and other powerful people in Washington—Weiner’s wife Huma Abedin is a victim too. However, lots of them know exactly what is happening, and they strike a “bargain with the Devil” because there are perks that come with power. Hillary Clinton made such a bargain; and it is somewhat surprising that such people can live with themselves.

See, e.g., http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304432304576372081387279732.html?mod=WSJ_hp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsSecond#articleTabs%3Darticle (“A Private Life, Tested”)

Sixth, it is small wonder that such conduct continues when apologists abound. For example, one commenter has written:

Tim, I used to WORK on the hill…so none of this is new to me. Shenanigans, personal and political, have been going on since the first Constitutional Convention.

I think you have an unrealistic MORAL expectation of our leaders. I don’t. Half the congressmen I dealt with daily had side coochy, and most of their wives knew it. The wives are every bit the political creatures their husbands are, and the Faustian bargain with most of them is…”don’t get caught publicly and embarrass me. Be discreet!”

In return, the wives get invited to the right Washington parties and get nice write-ups in [the Washington Post]. In essence, [they] advance up the social pecking order as their husband advances in power. Many are lawyers, and get cushy gigs in [l]obbying firms and think tanks.

Personally, I couldn’t care less what these people do on their personal time, as long as they adhere to the Constitutional principles on which this country was founded. Needless to say, until the Tea Party came along, even the Republicans weren’t doing that. It just looks to me that you are more outraged at the moral lapse than any legal failings which, if they find any, will be miniscule at best.

Sad, and very tragic. Acceptance of the “sickness” in Washington—and Hollywood, and elsewhere in the world—will never change the culture.

Seventh, another commenter has written:

You make it sound like [Weiner] killed somebody. We don’t need to spend millions investigating some old perv having cyber-sex.

I understand such feelings; however, Americans like this one need to realize that our elected officials such as Weiner—and others in positions of power globally, who misuse their power—”kill” the human spirit, confidence and well-being of their “victims,” just as surely as if they had been killed physically. I have seen it happen. Such problems have been allowed to fester far too long already; and action is needed now, not just in the United States but in other countries where it takes place on a daily basis.

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/human-trafficking/ (“Human Trafficking”) (see also the footnotes and comments beneath the article) and http://www.economist.com/node/18805463

Lastly, hang in there. There are nice and principled people in Washington too, and many of them are my friends.

Like

12 06 2011
Liz

Thank you Sir. The Anthony Weiner saga has left me feeling sick to my stomach, I don’t care that this guy has nothing to fall back on. He can take out student loans, go back to grad school and try and spend the rest of his life trying to eek out some admirable qualities to make up for his total hubris.

Enjoying your column.

Best
Liz

Like

12 06 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you again, Liz, for your comments.

Yes, I agree completely. By exposing Weiner, and making him pay with his career, it will send a message loud and clear to others in Congress—and elsewhere in Washington, Hollywood, and other centers and positions of power—that enough is enough. The chickens are coming home to roost.

Unless this is done, the “sickness” will continue and never end. I have seen it, you have, and concrete steps must be taken now to prevent it from happening in the future.

. . .

As I have said before, there are lots of nice and principled people in Washington too. Indeed, having worked on Capitol Hill and with those on Capitol Hill for many years, I would be remiss if I did not add that there are many fine and wonderful people working there. They are not like Weiner, but come to work each and every day and try to make this country better. They are idealistic and very talented—some of the brightest and most dedicated people in politics today, and in this country, from both political parties and other political persuasions (e.g., Independents)—and they are not caught up in this “sickness.”

Those who are “sick” need to be rooted out. This is why it is so important to make Weiner a “poster boy” for these issues, and force him to resign.

. . .

Again, hang in there, Liz, and keep the faith.

Like

13 06 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

The American Political System Is Wonderful

The American people are wiser than they are given credit for—certainly by those people in other countries—and our political system works more brilliantly than most people believe it does.

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/america-a-rich-tapestry-of-life/ (“America: A Rich Tapestry Of Life”) (see also the footnotes and comments beneath the article)

We elected Barack Obama, whom lots of Americans hate today; and before him, we elected George W. Bush whom people hated too. He was preceded by Bill Clinton, whom people tried to impeach and remove from the presidency. Lyndon Johnson was hated too, and he was followed by Richard Nixon who was hated and forced to resign.

Clearly, our political system has “checks and balances,” and we elect presidents and then throw them out of office. Lyndon Johnson could not run for reelection; and it is not inconceivable that the same thing might happen to Barack Obama between now and next year’s elections.

We veer from conservatism to liberalism, and then back again. Reaganism was followed by Bill Clinton’s liberalism, which was followed by George W. Bush’s conservatism . . . and then by Obama’s liberalism.

MSNBC has reported:

In an exclusive interview with TODAY’s Ann Curry that will air on Tuesday’s show, President Barack Obama said that if he were Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner right now, he would resign in the wake of the scandal in which Weiner admitted to sending explicit photos of himself to women online.

“I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign,’’ Obama told Curry.

See http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/43385259/ns/today-today_news; see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/washington-is-sick-and-the-american-people-know-it/#comment-1635 and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/washington-is-sick-and-the-american-people-know-it/#comment-1636 and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/washington-is-sick-and-the-american-people-know-it/#comment-1643 and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/washington-is-sick-and-the-american-people-know-it/#comment-1644

As with this issue and so many others, Obama is America’s “Hamlet” on the Potomac. He is betwixt and between, unable to do what is right. He should be calling for Weiner’s immediate resignation in no uncertain terms on moral grounds, just as Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer—the Democrats’ No. 1 and 2 leaders in the House—and other party leaders have done.

See, e.g., http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2003475/Anthony-Weiner-fate-decided-Democrats-Huma-Abedin-flies-in.html (“‘You MUST go': Pelosi repeats calls for Weiner’s resignation as wife flies in to confront errant husband”)

Instead, Obama equivocates. We can only assume that if he finds himself in a comparable or similar situation, he will do the honorable thing and resign like Richard Nixon did. Indeed, at some point in the future, he may be tested. Also, there is the possibility that Obama might not run for reelection, just as Lyndon Johnson decided during the Vietnam War.

Obama is in the midst of four wars, and an economic depression; and it is not beyond the pale to believe that he is reviewing internal polling that paints a bleak picture of the campaign ahead—or other factors might influence his decision not to run. If so, he will likely retreat to either Chicago or Hawaii prior to January of 2013, to write his memoirs and work full time on his golf scores and presidential library.

See, e.g., http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Analysis/de-Borchgrave/2011/06/13/Commentary-Half-pregnant-strategy/UPI-97361307964099/ (“Today, President Obama has got the United States involved in four wars: Afghanistan, Iraq (where U.S. troops are still being killed), Libya and Yemen (where the confusion of a civil war gave U.S. drones open skies to target al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula)”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/#comment-1637 (“CNN Poll: Obama Approval Rating Drops As Fears Of Depression Rise”)

Indeed, the Associated Press has reported:

President Barack Obama says his wife and daughters aren’t “invested” in him being president and would have been fine had he decided against running for re-election. But he says they believe in what he’s doing for the country.

Asked about his family’s reaction to his wanting another term, Obama said: “Michelle and the kids are wonderful in that if I said, `You know, guys, I want to do something different,’ They’d be fine. They’re not invested in daddy being president or my husband being president.”

He says first lady Michelle Obama would be the first one to encourage him to do something “a little less stressful” if she no longer thought that what they were doing was worthwhile for the country.

See http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110614/ap_on_re_us/us_obama_family_1 (“Obama: My family would be fine with just 1 term”)

Stay tuned, as the American saga continues . . .

Like

28 07 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

46 Percent Of Likely U.S. Voters View Most Members Of Congress As Corrupt, And Obama Is Fading

Bravo! The American people are wiser than our politicians give them credit for being. When this number becomes closer to 100 percent, their collective wisdom will know no bounds!

The highly-respected Rasmussen polling organization has found:

Voters are more convinced than ever that most congressmen are crooks.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 46% of Likely U.S. Voters now view most members of Congress as corrupt. That’s up seven points from June and the highest finding yet recorded. Just 29% think most members are not corrupt, and another 25% are not sure. . . .

Similarly, a whopping 85% of voters think most members of Congress are more interested in helping their own careers than in helping other people. That’s a record high for surveys stretching back to early November 2006. Only seven percent (7%) believe most of the legislators are more interested in helping others.

These findings come at a time when voter approval of the job Congress is doing has fallen to a new low. Just six percent (6%) of voters now rate Congress’ performance as good or excellent. Sixty-one percent (61%) think the national legislators are doing a poor job.

Rasmussen Reports has asked these questions monthly since June 2008 and sporadically before that.

While some believe that people hate Congress in general but love their own representative, just 31% believe their own representative is the best person for the job. Most think it’s at least somewhat likely that their own representative trades votes for cash.

. . .

Most voters don’t care much for the way either party is performing in the federal debt ceiling debate. The majority of voters are worried the final deal will raise taxes too much and won’t cut spending enough. Just 23% of Adults are at least somewhat confident that U.S. policymakers know what they’re doing when it comes to addressing the nation’s current economic problems.

. . .

Voters trust the GOP more on nine of 10 issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports including the economy, taxes, health care and national security.

Republicans lead Democrats again this week on the Generic Congressional Ballot as they have every week since June 2009.

Voters under 50 believe much more strongly than their elders that most members of Congress are corrupt. Union members share that view more than those who are not unionized.

See http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/july_2011/new_high_46_think_most_in_congress_are_corrupt (emphasis added)

Also, Barack Obama’s popularity has been plummeting, which reflects wisdom on the part of the American people too. He is an unmitigated disaster, a raving narcissist and demagogue, America’s “Hamlet on the Potomac” and “Jimmy Carter-lite,” who will not be reelected. He is perhaps the most arrogant, corrupt president of our lifetimes; and this country cannot endure four more years of his presidency or the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate.

See, http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/#comment-1740 (“Obama’s Support Crumbles”) (see also the article itself, as well as the footnotes and other comments beneath it); see also http://people-press.org/2011/07/28/obama-loses-ground-in-2012-reelection-bid/ (Pew Poll: Obama Blows Huge Lead; Independent Voters Abandon Him) and http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/07/28/african-american-middle-class-eroding-as-unemployment-rate-soars/?test=latestnews (“African-American Middle Class Eroding As Unemployment Rate Soars”—”It’s the Great Depression”) and http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/jul/01/vice-president-joe-biden-visits-las-vegas-looking-/ (“A Magellan poll . . . showed 53 percent of Nevadans were unhappy with Obama’s tenure so far”)

. . .

Last but by no means least, Nancy Pelosi—who as the House Speaker was responsible for enacting Barack Obama’s wasteful so-called “Stimulus Package” that drove up this nation’s debt, which is why there is a debt crisis today, and was responsible for enacting ObamaCare too, which is an “Obamination” of the worst magnitude—had the supreme gall to state:

What we’re trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget. We’re trying to save life on this planet as we know it today.

See http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/pelosis-reactionary-liberalism_577709.html

Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Obama are the “poster children” for what is wrong with America today.

Like

14 08 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

Serving On A Board Of Directors Can Be A Thankless And Brutal Experience

USA Today has reported about the political infighting and rifts within the board of directors at the acclaimed Betty Ford Center for the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction in Rancho Mirage, California.

The former First Lady’s daughter was ousted from her leadership position with the board, and resigned entirely; financial support has stopped from some of the Center’s long-time contributors; the former First Lady’s wishes for the Center’s future are being disputed; and chaos seems to be engulfing the organization as its competitors broaden their reach geographically, and as the national economy falters. None of this bodes well for the Center’s future.

See http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-08-14-betty-ford-treatment-center-funding_n.htm and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/ (see also the footnotes and comments beneath the article)

Having served on several boards of directors, I vowed that I would never serve on another one. The “cat-fighting” and internal politics often make the most Machiavellian politics of Washington, D.C. seem like child’s play.

Egos and factions and power grabs seem to be the norm. Indeed, often the boards members are more interested in their power and positions, and the perks of being board members, than they are in advancing the worthy goals of the organization.

Many of us have found that it is a thankless job. More importantly, for those who serve on the boards of financial institutions and other large organizations, legal liability can attach to their decisions; and this alone can be brutal unless there are Directors and Officers Liability Insurance (“D&O”) policies in place that provide adequate coverage against costly litigation.

If asked today by a client about serving on a board, my gut reaction would be “no, don’t do it,” which is sad.

Like

16 08 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

When A Giant Named Senator Bill Walked Through Washington

William Proxmire

Having “trashed” our great nation’s capital and its politicians in the article above, and in many other writings that appear at this blog, I found it refreshing to reread what I wrote in January of 2006, as a tribute to former U.S. Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin. The article is not important because I wrote it, but rather because of the man whom it described.

I believe its contents are important enough to be read and reread by those who are interested in American government and politics at their best, devoid of the anger and hatreds that seem to dominate and mar public discourse today. Proxmire stood out, and he was special in an age when most politicians “blend in” or disappear, or are remembered for their rancor or petty partisan ways.

A few brief excerpts are worth mentioning, which hopefully will entice you to read more:

The likes of Bill Proxmire seldom pass through Washington—bringing to mind the honesty and decency of Abe Lincoln.

. . .

I probably learned more about the decency of American politics from Proxmire than anyone else. Even though he was a Democrat, he worked with legislators on both sides of the aisle, bringing civility and forging bipartisan alliances that got things done. He was at the opposite end of the spectrum from the partisan fire-eaters of today, who seem never to have met a member of the other party whom they truly like or respect.

. . .

In his last two campaigns of 1976 and 1982, it is reported that he refused to take any campaign contributions and spent less than $200 on each, out of his own pocket, to cover the costs of filing for reelection.

. . .

He championed the “little guy” on Capitol Hill, which is overrun by high-paid lobbyists representing every conceivable type of special interest.

. . .

[H]e was not the product of pollsters or teams of slick advisers; and he was not a demagogue like so many of today’s politicians.

I came to Capitol Hill as a Democrat, and later became a Republican and then an Independent. In many ways, Proxmire was the quintessential independent who marched to a different drummer.

See http://www.naegele.com/documents/AGiantHasLeftUs.pdf; see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Proxmire and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/washington-is-sick-and-the-american-people-know-it/ and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/the-rise-of-independents/

Lastly, to be totally accurate, Senator Bill seldom “walked through Washington.” He literally jogged to work, and was always on the move. :-)

Like

16 08 2011
SMILIN' JACK SEZ

You hit the nail right on the head perfectly with this piece. Here’s hoping you will take up the discussion of how we can draft individuals like Senator Bill into the political arena, and save our country before Obama wins another term.

Like

16 08 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Jack, for your comments.

First, I do not believe Obama will be reelected. The handwriting is on the wall . . . unless the GOP blows next year’s elections, like it did the lame duck session of Congress last year.

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/#comment-1801 (“Obama Sinks To New Lows”) (see also the article itself, as well as the footnotes and other comments beneath it)

Second, Bill Proxmire was a rare human being. However, there are other people like him out there. Some have been turned off by the system, but others will decide to run, and get elected, and serve their country. I might name some new names in the Congress, but I will refrain from doing so, because they have not been “tested” yet.

Like

7 10 2011
Vickie

I like this blog, because you say what you really believe. It is rare in today’s newspaper articles. I thought I’d join one just to make comments, but soon discovered that you can’t say anything in the least bit rude, or they will not post your comments. I didn’t do anything worse than our government has, but I’m learning that freedom of speech is pretty much gone in this day and time. :(

Like

7 10 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Vickie, for your kind and thoughtful comments.

Yes, of course you are correct. Indeed, the Wall Street Journal is a prime example of such practices. If one does not hew to its “party line,” one’s comments are eradicated.

Freedom of speech is wonderful, and I salute you. :-)

Like

9 02 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

When Will Obama Fall?

Obama and rifle

In an article entitled, “With Plea Deal, Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Fall From Grace Seems Complete,” Newsweek‘s John Avlon writes:

Former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. agreed Friday to plead guilty to charges of misusing campaign funds, in an apparent bid to an end a federal investigation that threatens to also implicate his wife, former Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson. Both had resigned their offices in recent months, reportedly as part of the congressman’s negotiations with prosecutors.

. . .

The Jackson dynasty appears to be done.

. . .

[Jackson Jr.] resigned two weeks after Election Day. His wife, a city alderman, resigned her office in January after the Chicago Sun Times raised questions about her use of campaign funds from her husband’s congressional accounts, including a $5,000 monthly consulting salary, credit-card charges and the moving of money between accounts.

This practice is apparently epidemic in the corruption-plagued Land of Lincoln.

. . .

Some swamps take a long time to drain. Stunningly, three current members of the Illinois state legislature were sworn in this year despite facing criminal charges, ranging from bribery to bank fraud.

See http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/08/with-plea-deal-jesse-jackson-jr-s-fall-from-grace-seems-complete.html; see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/#comment-2315 (“Will Obama ‘Unravel’ Like Nixon Did?”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/washington-is-sick-and-the-american-people-know-it/ (“Washington Is Sick And The American People Know It”)

Barack Obama is an integral part of the same corrupt Chicago culture.

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/

When will the Obama “swamp” be drained, and how complete will be his fall from grace?

Like

27 09 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

The Surface Of Corruption In Washington Has Barely Been Scratched

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and author Seymour Hersh is at it again, thank God!

In a riveting talk at the City University in London, which has been reported in the UK’s Guardian, Hersh opens up:

Seymour Hersh has got some extreme ideas on how to fix journalism—close down the news bureaus of NBC and ABC, sack 90% of editors in publishing and get back to the fundamental job of journalists which, he says, is to be an outsider.

It doesn’t take much to fire up Hersh, the investigative journalist who has been the nemesis of US presidents since the 1960s and who was once described by the Republican party as “the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist”.

He is angry about the timidity of journalists in America, their failure to challenge the White House and be an unpopular messenger of truth.

Don’t even get him started on the New York Times which, he says, spends “so much more time carrying water for Obama than I ever thought they would”—or the death of Osama bin Laden. “Nothing’s been done about that story, it’s one big lie, not one word of it is true,” he says of the dramatic US Navy Seals raid in 2011.

Hersh is writing a book about national security and has devoted a chapter to the bin Laden killing. He says a recent report put out by an “independent” Pakistani commission about life in the Abottabad compound in which Bin Laden was holed up would not stand up to scrutiny. “The Pakistanis put out a report, don’t get me going on it. Let’s put it this way, it was done with considerable American input. It’s a bullshit report,” he says hinting of revelations to come in his book.

The Obama administration lies systematically, he claims, yet none of the leviathans of American media, the TV networks or big print titles, challenge him.

“It’s pathetic, they are more than obsequious, they are afraid to pick on this guy [Obama],” he declares in an interview with the Guardian.

“It used to be when you were in a situation when something very dramatic happened, the president and the minions around the president had control of the narrative, you would pretty much know they would do the best they could to tell the story straight. Now that doesn’t happen any more. Now they take advantage of something like that and they work out how to re-elect the president.

He isn’t even sure if the recent revelations about the depth and breadth of surveillance by the National Security Agency will have a lasting effect.

Snowden changed the debate on surveillance

He is certain that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden “changed the whole nature of the debate” about surveillance. Hersh says he and other journalists had written about surveillance, but Snowden was significant because he provided documentary evidence—although he is sceptical about whether the revelations will change the US government’s policy.

“Duncan Campbell [the British investigative journalist who broke the Zircon cover-up story], James Bamford [US journalist] and Julian Assange and me and the New Yorker, we’ve all written the notion there’s constant surveillance, but he [Snowden] produced a document and that changed the whole nature of the debate, it’s real now,” Hersh says.

“Editors love documents. Chicken-shit editors who wouldn’t touch stories like that, they love documents, so he changed the whole ball game,” he adds, before qualifying his remarks.

“But I don’t know if it’s going to mean anything in the long [run] because the polls I see in America—the president can still say to voters ‘al-Qaida, al-Qaida’ and the public will vote two to one for this kind of surveillance, which is so idiotic,” he says.

Holding court to a packed audience at City University in London’s summer school on investigative journalism, 76-year-old Hersh is on full throttle, a whirlwind of amazing stories of how journalism used to be; how he exposed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, how he got the Abu Ghraib pictures of American soldiers brutalising Iraqi prisoners, and what he thinks of Edward Snowden.

Hope of redemption

Despite his concern about the timidity of journalism he believes the trade still offers hope of redemption.

“I have this sort of heuristic view that journalism, we possibly offer hope because the world is clearly run by total nincompoops more than ever . . . Not that journalism is always wonderful, it’s not, but at least we offer some way out, some integrity.”

His story of how he uncovered the My Lai atrocity is one of old-fashioned shoe-leather journalism and doggedness. Back in 1969, he got a tip about a 26-year-old platoon leader, William Calley, who had been charged by the army with alleged mass murder.

Instead of picking up the phone to a press officer, he got into his car and started looking for him in the army camp of Fort Benning in Georgia, where he heard he had been detained. From door to door he searched the vast compound, sometimes blagging his way, marching up to the reception, slamming his fist on the table and shouting: “Sergeant, I want Calley out now.”

Eventually his efforts paid off with his first story appearing in the St Louis Post-Despatch, which was then syndicated across America and eventually earned him the Pulitzer Prize. “I did five stories. I charged $100 for the first, by the end the [New York] Times were paying $5,000.”

He was hired by the New York Times to follow up the Watergate scandal and ended up hounding Nixon over Cambodia. Almost 30 years later, Hersh made global headlines all over again with his exposure of the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

Put in the hours

For students of journalism his message is put the miles and the hours in. He knew about Abu Ghraib five months before he could write about it, having been tipped off by a senior Iraqi army officer who risked his own life by coming out of Baghdad to Damascus to tell him how prisoners had been writing to their families asking them to come and kill them because they had been “despoiled”.

“I went five months looking for a document, because without a document, there’s nothing there, it doesn’t go anywhere.”

Hersh returns to US president Barack Obama. He has said before that the confidence of the US press to challenge the US government collapsed post 9/11, but he is adamant that Obama is worse than Bush.

“Do you think Obama’s been judged by any rational standards? Has Guantanamo closed? Is a war over? Is anyone paying any attention to Iraq? Is he seriously talking about going into Syria? We are not doing so well in the 80 wars we are in right now, what the hell does he want to go into another one for. What’s going on [with journalists]?” he asks.

He says investigative journalism in the US is being killed by the crisis of confidence, lack of resources and a misguided notion of what the job entails.

“Too much of it seems to me is looking for prizes. It’s journalism looking for the Pulitzer Prize,” he adds. “It’s a packaged journalism, so you pick a target like—I don’t mean to diminish because anyone who does it works hard—but are railway crossings safe and stuff like that, that’s a serious issue but there are other issues too.

“Like killing people, how does [Obama] get away with the drone programme, why aren’t we doing more? How does he justify it? What’s the intelligence? Why don’t we find out how good or bad this policy is? Why do newspapers constantly cite the two or three groups that monitor drone killings. Why don’t we do our own work?

“Our job is to find out ourselves, our job is not just to say – here’s a debate’ our job is to go beyond the debate and find out who’s right and who’s wrong about issues. That doesn’t happen enough. It costs money, it costs time, it jeopardises, it raises risks. There are some people—the New York Times still has investigative journalists but they do much more of carrying water for the president than I ever thought they would . . . it’s like you don’t dare be an outsider any more.”

He says in some ways President George Bush’s administration was easier to write about. “The Bush era, I felt it was much easier to be critical than it is [of] Obama. Much more difficult in the Obama era,” he said.

Asked what the solution is Hersh warms to his theme that most editors are pusillanimous and should be fired.

“I’ll tell you the solution, get rid of 90% of the editors that now exist and start promoting editors that you can’t control,” he says. I saw it in the New York Times, I see people who get promoted are the ones on the desk who are more amenable to the publisher and what the senior editors want and the trouble makers don’t get promoted. Start promoting better people who look you in the eye and say ‘I don’t care what you say’.

Nor does he understand why the Washington Post held back on the Snowden files until it learned the Guardian was about to publish.

If Hersh was in charge of US Media Inc, his scorched earth policy wouldn’t stop with newspapers.

“I would close down the news bureaus of the networks and let’s start all over, tabula rasa. The majors, NBCs, ABCs, they won’t like this—just do something different, do something that gets people mad at you, that’s what we’re supposed to be doing,” he says.

Hersh is currently on a break from reporting, working on a book which undoubtedly will make for uncomfortable reading for both Bush and Obama.

“The republic’s in trouble, we lie about everything, lying has become the staple.” And he implores journalists to do something about it.

See http://www.theguardian.com/media/media-blog/2013/sep/27/seymour-hersh-obama-nsa-american-media (emphasis added); see also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2436610/Pathetic-Award-winning-journalist-Seymour-Hersh-slams-American-press-challenging-US-governments-LIES-Bin-Laden-raid.html (“Not ONE word of official account of raid that killed Bin Laden is true, claims award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh“)

Among other things, Hersh laid bare the myths about John F. Kennedy—the most despicable president in American history—and his “Camelot” for the world to see.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/john-f-kennedy-the-most-despicable-president-in-american-history/

Hersh tells it like it is, not the sugar-coated pablum that comes out of Washington today, to be consumed by Americans and the world.

In the event that people have failed to notice, Americans have collective wisdom, and they have awakened to the mess that is Washington—brought to us principally by Obama and his “evil” Democrats, and their counterparts in the media.

Like

4 05 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Nero And The Merriment In Washington

Obama at Washington Correspondents Dinner

It is impossible to watch any segments of the White House Correspondents Dinner last night, or read reports about it in the media, without thinking back to other dinners in history.

Surely Nero entertained lavishly for those in his favor, all the while that Rome was burning. The frivolity and merrymaking must have matched or surpassed that of Washington’s elite.

They salute each other as gods and mini-gods, all the while Russia’s dictator-for-life Putin is carving up Ukraine. First, it was Georgia and the killing of Georgians. Then it was Crimea, taken without a shot. Now it is more of Ukraine, taken by the vicious Putin’s thugs in unmarked uniforms, posing as separatists and freedom-loving democrats.

How Herren Hitler and Stalin must be rejoicing somewhere, and complimenting each other for having taught Putin so well as a KGB operative in the DDR, or East Germany. How his anger and hatred must have risen exponentially with the Soviet Union’s collapse, and the fall of the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall.

Those who fawned over Barack Obama last night are the moral equivalents of those who fawned over Nero, Hitler and Stalin on other festive occasions. People will die in Ukraine, just as they died in Georgia, and as they died under the boots of Hitler and Stalin’s forces, while the “leadership” regaled each other.

There is something very sick in Washington today, just as there was in Rome, Berlin and Moscow. Merriment was in full bloom among the narcissists and demagogues, as the “people” were dying and suffering. George Orwell might have written a sequel to his “Animal Farm,” based on the “pigs” of today.

They fiddle while Ukraine and Syria burn, and while Afghanistan and Iraq descend back into chaos. People are starving in America, and a record number are not working. Our health care system has been replaced and devastated by Obamacare, which will hurt vast numbers of Americans and shorten their lives.

All of this is occurring with almost three long years remaining of the Obama presidency. Our great nation’s founders must be aghast at what has been unfolding in the country that they birthed and loved so much. Tears must be shed and shed again over what Washington has become.

Somehow, someway, we must hope and pray that the courageous Ukrainians triumph over the deadly Putin, at the very least.

See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/#comment-4010

Like

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 164 other followers

%d bloggers like this: