Pinch me, this has to be a nightmare
By Chris Ingram
The Water Cooler is an occasional feature of talking points about politics.
• Politics makes strange bedfellows. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton exchanged a lot of heated words during the Democratic Primary this year. Now it appears Obama is “considering” Ms. Clinton for Secretary of State. News reports say Clinton and Obama met in Chicago this week and that the Obama camp is doing nothing to deny speculation that she is being considered. CNN reports that team Obama has previously been quick to deny speculation and other rumors suggesting there must be some truth to the story.
Let’s get one thing perfectly clear, Hillary Clinton is a lot of things, but she isn’t a diplomat. And why would she want to be SoS? There isn’t much to hand out in the form of graft, and little to corrupt on behalf of her elite political supporters. No. Clinton would probably prefer the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development or some other agency full of government grants, jobs, and do-gooder programs she can dish out. That’s the Clinton way afterall.
I think this is a trial balloon Obama is floating, and more than likely he has no intention of offering Clinton anything in his administration. But he can put her under “consideration” and then stall, stall, stall. Before you know it, it will be January and he can announce Bill Richardson – or someone else with some foreign policy credentials to be his SoS. The country simply cannot afford a president and SoS who have next to zero foreign policy experience. Someone please call in the adults and give Mr. Obama some advice!
• In addition to the drubbing they took in the presidential contest, the Grand very OLD Party lost twenty-one seats in the House of Representatives (the House is now split 236 to 199, favoring the Democrats) and seven seats in the U.S. Senate (giving the Dems. a 55 to 40 majority as of right now). Two Senators (Bernie Sanders, a socialist from Vermont, and Joe Lieberman, a hero from Connecticut) are officially independent but both caucus with the Democrats.
There are three U.S. Senate seats that are still undetermined. In Georgia, Republican Saxby Chambliss was forced into a run-off when he failed to get the 50 percent plus-one vote on election night due to a third-party candidate syphoning off some votes. He now faces Democrat Jim Martin on December 2. Chambliss will probably win, but Republicans should not take anything for granted. The Georgia Republican Party is in dissaray and if anybody could screw up a one car funeral, it’s the GOP.
In Alaska, convicted felon and incumbent Republican Senator Ted Stevens is in the fight for his life against Democrat opponent Mark Begich. Currently Begich leads by 814 votes with 30,000 votes still to be re-counted. It’s a sad state of affairs when so many of the voting public supports a convicted felon (Stevens was convicted of lying on financial disclosure forms and taking illegal gifts last month). It just goes to show, give people enough pork for their state and they’ll re-elect a tuna sandwich. Stevens was instrumental in the “bridge to nowhere” and has been in the senate for 40 years. He is a disgrace to the Republican party, the Senate as an institution, and the state of Alaska.
Incumbent Republican Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota is involved in a re-count with Democrat challenger and former actor/author Al Franken. Coleman currently leads Franken by 206 votes. The state elections board will meet next week to certify the election and then declare a recount as mandated by state law – because the candidates are within a half a percentage point of each other (out of nearly 3 million votes cast). I know Al Franken and he’s a decent, smart, and capable guy. He’s also funny, and a big-time liberal. If he wins, he’ll be one of the most interesting characters in the very tradition-oriented U.S. Senate.
I expect Coleman will prevail though, and Stevens will lose and go to prison where he belongs (unless Bush pardons him). Chambliss should win the run-off and return to the Senate. This would give the Republicans 41 senators to the 57 for the Democrats (when you count the two independents who generally vote with them the Democrats have 59 votes in the Senate). Nothing can be accomplished in the rule-oriented Senate without 60 votes – the number needed to block a fillibuster – and for all intents and purposes, the Democrats have it. For it won’t be hard to get some liberal Republicans like Olympia Snow of Maine or Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania to join them on votes for tax increases, gun control, social spending, and liberal judicial nominees.
• It’s a lousy time to be a Republican. Only when Republican Party voters demand that their leaders stop the corruption, stop the raiding of our children’s economic futures (by spending so wildly), and start leading with a vision for our country instead of special interests will the party return to its glory years of the 1980s.
Don’t hold your breath.
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of http://www.IrreverentView.com. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, Front Page Florida, and National Review online. E-mail him at: Chris@411Communications.net.