A few weeks ago, former New York Mayor Ed Koch told me that he had been so mad at President Obama earlier this year over his stance on Israel that he engineered the loss of Anthony Weiner's Democratic congressional seat to a Republican. "I had a falling out with President Obama when he announced that Israel has to go back to the ‘67 lines when it starts its negotiations with Palestinians," he said. "I decided that Obama was taking the Jews for granted, as far as their vote...they gave 78 percent of their entire vote and I wanted to send a message."
An August 20 New York Times story, “Slow Response to Housing Crisis Now Weighs on Obama” details the slow and cautious response by the president to the foreclosure crisis.
As President Obama has himself admitted, housing continues to be a significant drag on the economy. The housing market makes up 15 percent of our Gross Domestic Product. It's hard to have a robust recovery when one-sixth of our economy is in its worst shape in generations.
C/O Republican National Convention
401 Channelside Drive
Tampa, FL 33602
We are writing to express our disdain over several recent comments you have made about the important issues facing voters in November, your total distortion of President Barack Obama’s record, and your complete flip-flop on certain core principles you once held dear. Given the magnitude of your recent transformation, we can only conclude that, rather than a true conversion, your actions are the result of a nakedly personal and political calculation or simmering anguish after failing to secure the Democratic nomination for governor of the State of Alabama in 2010.
Despite recent news reports that you sought advice from a Virginia political consultant about running for office as a Democrat, you currently proclaim to have switched to the Republican Party. However, in 2009 you repeatedly criticized former Representative Parker Griffith for the same act, saying, “his decision repudiates the hard work of many Democrats who sustained him during his election to two high offices.” You continued, “He leaves a party where differences of opinion are tolerated and respected to join a party that in Washington, marches in lockstep, demands the most rigid unity, and articulates no governing philosophy beyond the forceful use of the word, ‘no.’”
It’s unconscionable that you now claim Voter ID laws do not violate civil rights or suppress minority voter turnout. Yet in 2007 while still representing Alabama’s 7th congressional district, you joined then-Senator Obama in calling for the resignation of the Justice Department’s Voting Rights chief after he claimed that Voter ID laws did not hurt minorities, saying, “you can't argue that voter ID laws don't disfranchise African- Americans.”
You also may recall that less than two years ago, you routinely touted your progressive record as a member of the House of Representatives. You supported the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Wall Street reform bill, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and ending tax subsidies for oil companies. Despite voting against the final bill, you even supported major pillars of the Affordable Care Act like banning discrimination against pre-existing conditions, expanding Medicaid, and providing tax breaks to small businesses that provide health care, to name a few.
Contrary to your recent declarations, you hailed President Barack Obama as a “beacon of leadership,” touted President Obama as your “model,” and widely described the President as a friend. As a member of the House of Representatives, you supported President Obama’s agenda 95% of the time, were quoted saying “I agree with him on everything,” and repeatedly invoked President Obama in your failed gubernatorial campaign.
It is important that the American people have these important facts and draw their own conclusions about your true motivations for speaking at the Republican National Convention.
We have come to the disturbing conclusion that your recent public statements have no basis in real policy or political disagreements, but rather they stem from transparent opportunism and a personal determination to overcome failing to win the Alabama Democratic primary for Governor in 2010. We regret that you have chosen this course, but are confident that the American people see your pronouncements for what they are and come to the same disappointing conclusion of your former colleagues.
Chairman Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-Mo.)
Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.)
Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.)
Rep Donna Christensen (D-VI-AL)
Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.)
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.)
Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.)
Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio)
Rep. Barbara J. Lee (D-Calif.)
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.)
Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.)
Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-Ala.)
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.)
In pursuing politics in Washington, and as a former senior congressional staffer, I am the odd one out in my extended family: many, if not most, of my relatives are farmers, preachers or teachers. At family reunions, consequently, like the one I recently returned from, political questions are directed at me.
As an entrepreneur who runs a small business, no one understands and feels the plight of our current economic situation more than I do. I live and die with each client I work to retain. Each deal I am able to close allows me to keep my doors open. It is a reality that I was thrust into quickly as I launched my entrepreneurial projects after college in a post 9-11 world.
I disagree with Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) on many policy issues, but I greatly respect him as a politician and a war hero. That is what made the 2008 presidential election so interesting at first: a respected senior senator versus a fresh-faced freshman senator who eloquently spoke of change and hope. And yet, with Senator McCain’s pick of Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, he lost scores of votes – and perhaps the election – as the result of a desperate attempt to shore up his conservative credentials.
What will the campaign for control of both houses of Congress look like as we move down the home stretch? Two factors in particular are worth examining: Will there be coattails and will common sense on resource allocation lead both parties to maximize their chances in congressional races?
If you're a conservative policy wonk -- and sadly, I fall into that category -- then Paul Ryan is more than a solid vice presidential selection. He's a rock star pick, the total package: the philosophical foundations, the mastery of details, and the ability to put it into plain English, all while conveying the humanity that the mainstream media believes conservatives lack. As a candidate, Ryan is the real deal.
It's Ryan's legislative proposals, however, that make some conservatives worry. And with good reason: the federal budget didn't get where it is simply because of elected officials who lack courage. Americans themselves are conflicted. They know that programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid can't continue without change and they're uncomfortable with the tax increases needed to finance these entitlements. But they also flinch at accepting a penny less in benefits than they've been promised. Ryan's various plans to fix entitlements, Medicare in particular, make him a risky pick given Democrats' amply-demonstrated willingness to drag the 2012 presidential campaign into the gutter.
Will Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan doom their candidacy in Florida, Ohio and other senior-heavy states? It shouldn't, so long as Romney and Ryan define their positions rather than allowing themselves to be defined.
That’s why the Romney campaign needs to come out strong. They need to point out that it was President Obama, not Romney, who cut $700 billion from Medicare, not to save the program but to fund new entitlements. No Florida senior should enter the voting booth not knowing this fact. Listening to many Democratic talking heads, you’d think it was Romney who proposed the cuts.
On immigration, Mitt Romney desperately needs his party to do one thing above all else: shut up. It isn’t for no reason that President Obama is beating Mitt Romney by heavy margins according to every poll of Latino voters: Romney used harsh rhetoric pushing for SB 1070, calling it a “model for the nation,” promised to veto the DREAM Act -- a bill that would allow undocumented youth to earn legal status. Now that the brutal primaries seem a distant memory, Romney must do everything he can to appeal to Latino voters.
The only presidential level decision a candidate makesbefore they are elected president, is the choice of a running mate. How the nominee will govern, make decisions, and what character traits he values most are all indicated by that decision. Bill Clinton selected Al Gore to stress the “New Southern Democrat” image, and show youth and energy. George W. Bush selected Dick Cheney to shore up a perceived and real lack of Washington and foreign policy experience. Both were good choices that helped the campaigns and helped both men govern.