Random Thoughts

A few random thoughts on life and the political scene as the semester winds down:

First, a correction from last week’s column. The senior Pennsylvanian Senator’s name is spelled “Specter,” not “Spectre,” as I spelled it. Thanks to the readers who pointed this out to me.

While on the topic of Specter, it appears that he has been put in his place. He now promises to “be good,” and not be an obstructionist when it comes to judicial nominees. Specter has never been much of a Republican (many refer to him as a RINO – Republican In Name Only), but he now promises he will be. We shall see. It’s unfortunate that he can’t be more like the other Pennsylvania Senator, Rick Santorum.

The Oil-for-Food scandal at the UN remains on of the most under reported stories in recent memory. As more evidence amasses that Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi regime had leaders around the world bought off, and as more evidence seems to indicate that top UN leadership were aware of the situation, one would think the story would be hard to ignore. Yet it continues to be swept under the rug.

Why is this? It is easy to blame media bias, and certainly that does play a role. But the Bush Administration has also been silent on the issue. This is unfortunate, because this is a story that needs to be told. Yet, it also shows Bush’s (in this case misguided) effort to preserve warm relations with countries involved. Remember this the next time someone suggests that the Bush Administration scoffs at the world.

Congratulations to Condeleezza Rice, who will become the new Secretary of State. While it is sad to see Colin Powell leave the administration, Condi Rice will be an able and worthy replacement. She has done an outstanding job as National Security Advisor, and America will benefit greatly from her poise and leadership.

The death of Yasser Arafat was an historic, if not unexpected event. He had been rumored to be near death for several days. While many of us have moral qualms about taking pleasure in the death of another human being (and I use the term very loosely here), watching the celebration of his life is sickening. Here is a man who has the blood of thousands on his hands. Here is a man who has lived like a king, while his own people suffer and live in total poverty and despair.

Yet this man was seen as a great leader all over the world. French President Jacques Chirac paid him personal visits in his Paris hospital. President Bush responded to the (at the time, erroneous) news that Yasser Arafat had died by saying “God bless his soul.” It’s hard to imagine him saying something similar about the death of Osama bin Laden. The Palestinian people, who have suffered more than anyone because of Arafat, have been in severe mourning. What is wrong with this picture?

Australian Prime Minister John Howard is one of the few world leaders to tell the truth following Arafat’s death: “I think history will judge him very harshly for not having seized the opportunity in the year 2000 to embrace the offer that was very courageously made by the then Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barack, which involved the Israelis agreeing to 90 per cent of what the Palestinians had wanted.”

One of the sweetest moments of election night was the defeat of Senate Minority Leader Tom Dashle (D-SD). Dashle was seen, justifiably, as an obstructionist. What message does this send to the Senators involved in the filibusters, especially ones from red states? Perhaps now we can see some real cooperation, instead of the minority continuing to bully the majority. And perhaps the majority will finally start to act like the majority.

Governor Phil Bredesen seems to be backing away from his previous pledges to scrap TennCare. He now wants to fix it, something that has been promised for years but as yet to happen. As someone who generally approves of the job Bredesen has done, I am disappointed to hear this. People in all the other states someone get by without this program; why can’t Tennesseans?

Finally, Thursday is Thanksgiving. We as Americans have much to be thankful for, but first and foremost are our servicemen and women, because without them we would have nothing else. We should all remember them in our thoughts and prayers.

Leave a Reply