Tag Archives: Politics

Presidents compared to past politics

The New York Times’ Michael Shear wrote an interesting piece Nov. 14 on how President Barack Obama’s second term in office might be starting to look like George W. Bush’s second term.

From a neutral perspective, the comparisons are intriguing.

For instance, Bush dealt with a massive backlash from what many considered a “botched” response to Hurricane Katrina from his administration, as well as the unpopular war in Iraq.

Now Obama’s dealing with a backlash arguably just as vocal after the messy rollout of not only the health care exchange websites, but also his unfulfilled promise of letting Americans keep their insurance if they liked it.

Keep in mind that only 5 percent of Americans originally had to switch to plans meeting Obamacare’s coverage standards, according to the New York Times’ wonderful graphics. However, that 5 percent still comprises 10-15 million people.

That’s a huge chunk of the population, and Obama knows it. That’s why I think he apologized to the country on NBC last week. That’s why he’s now trying to change the law to give them a reprieve and let them keep their plans.

But will it all be worth it in the end? What are the implications for Democrats heading into the 2014 congressional elections?

And will Obama win back the trust of the country? For the first time since being elected, a majority of Americans no longer trust him, according to two polls.

Leading Democrats and administration members are still hopeful. They reject this comparison. Plenty of Republicans, on the other hand, are more than happy to shove it in their faces and use it as more partisan fodder.

No matter what, however, it’s clear that senior White House officials are concerned. They should be. Emotional, spur-of-the-moment public reactions like this often determine political fate. It’s a sad reality when most of us aren’t informed on the news, but it’s still reality.

Presidents leave behind a legacy when they exit office. In the far-off future, Bush and Obama will be in our history books. We’ll likely study their political characteristics just as intently as those of Nixon, Reagan, LBJ, and FDR.

But what will your legacy be after you die?

Will you be known for thinking more about others and less about yourself? Will you smile as the end draws near, knowing you made a positive difference?

It turns out this comparison is more about us than politics in Washington. Rather than throw up our hands in horror and pessimism, we should be striving to make our own mark on the world, hoping our efforts will sort everything else out.

Max Milander / For the Review

Battles in the Beaver State

County Commissioner:
As evidenced by walking down just about any street in McMinnville, the “Battle of the Marys” is in full swing. Arguably, this could be because of the painfully close primary on May 18, when incumbent Mary Stern lost by nine votes to opponent Mary Starrett.
A two-term County Commissioner, Stern is a Democrat who has shown that her focus is on planning ahead for her county through fiscal and economic responsibility. She chairs the Yamhill County Economic Development Forum, which Sal Peralta, her campaign manager, said helped to raise $2.5 million for the local food bank and more than $9 million in rainy-day funds for the county and state.
And the recession being a top issue, this economic responsibility has gained for support of Stern.
However, Stern has come under fire for her support of Measures 66 and 67. Measure 66 raised taxes statewide on families earning $250,000 or more, and Measure 67 raised the corporate minimum tax by $10.
Regardless of her stance on the issue, Stern is supported by many Oregon law enforcement agencies. The commissioner’s job primarily focuses on criminal justice, and Stern has a long career in the field. She was selected in 1991 by the Department of Justice to serve in the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Western Regional Office as an honors attorney, worked in Portland in the U.S. District Court and became an independent legal consultant in 2001.
• • •
On the other side of the Mary fence is Mary Starrett, a former broadcast journalist who said she is tired of the disconnect between Stern and voters.
Starrett said the need for change is what helped her win the vote in May and will come through for her again in November.
The fact that Starrett is a third-party candidate is one of the more eye-catching aspects of the race. Normally, throughout the country, races come down to members of the Republican and Democratic parties, but this election season sees some changes.
Stern has been quick to point out the fringe aspect of her party, claiming that the Constitution Party is a right-wing extremist group. Although she wishes to make clear that anyone can be a member of any party, she reminds voters that many in the Constitution Party are conspiracy theorists and that voters need to see exactly what they stand for. Starrett said she is fine with this, and reminds Americans that “most parties appeared as fringe movements at one time,” including the two popular ones.
She said she wishes to affect change in the government and wants to do that by bringing a third party to office.
This differentiation has been the major focus of the campaign, Starrett said. She reminds voters that she has been working with the public all her life, whereas Stern’s career has been almost exclusively in the government. Starrett believes it is this outside connection with politics that will pull her through in November, as voters can trust her to not make mistakes she has reported on all her life.
According to a story recently published in the News Register, Starrett said she believes that the government could have been involved with 9/11 or the Challenger explosion and believes that big-budget spending and fiscal irresponsibility have gotten Americans in trouble in recent years.
If elected, she said she vows to peel back on spending and bloated bureaucracy.
State Representative:
In a hotly contested race Republican incumbent Jim Weidner runs versus Democrat Susan Sokol Blosser.
Weidner has made this an intensely personal campaign, using emotional appeals about his top issues on his website and straight-talking willingness to say exactly why he is the right candidate for the job. As a lifelong resident of Yamhill County, his message has been incredibly effective.
He believes that putting taxes on businesses at a time when the economy is in a rough state is a recipe for disaster, as is evidenced by many businesses leaving Oregon. Rather, Weidner would repeal the taxes and work to impose a limit on government growth to 6 percent annually, thereby leaving funds open to support the municipal aspects that Measures 66 and 67 are funding.
As for his opponent, no love is lost for someone he describes as a big-spending liberal. He is quick to compare his record of voting nay for tax increases and additional government spending, whereas he claims Sokol Blosser “is going to support the tax and spending agenda.”
• • •
Sokol Blosser, however, claims to know what taxes mean for businesses and what Oregon residents need from Salem to survive in this economy.
Sokol Blosser styles herself as a candidate for small businesses and the economy. She was one of the founders of Oregon’s wine industry in 1971, and co-founder of Sokol Blosser vineyards, which opened in 1977. Thus, as her campaign pamphlets explain, she knows how to grow a business from the ground up.
Her campaign manager, Ryan Mann, said the now internationally known company was a small struggling business for several years before the acclaim set in. She was directly affected by Oregon tax laws, small business restrictions and bureaucracy, and it is this knowledge that she claims makes her right for office.
Further, Sokol Blosser labels herself as the candidate of bipartisanship. Although a Democrat, Sokol Blosser said her years of uninvolvement in politics have taught her how to get along with everyone and see all sides of an issue.
Mann admits that she has been rather displeased by some Democratic actions lately.
Although never having held a political office, Sokol Blosser has shown a history of fiscal and economic responsibility, at times almost conservatively, that her campaign manager claims comes from her business background.
Unsurprisingly, Sokol Blosser has made her primary concern economics. When it comes to Measures 66 and 67, she obviously did not have a vote on them in January. However, according to Mann, if she had been on the floor, they would have looked different, with wanting to add more business-friendly clauses. If she is elected, Sokol Blosser will work to cut the capital gains tax, which she said she is outrageously high right now, Mann said, and will push for legislation that focuses on small business
es and helping them obtain what they otherwise could not.
First Congressional
The race for the U.S. House of Representatives has heated up as well, with 12-year incumbent Democrat David Wu facing great challenge from sports advertiser and Republican activist Rob Cornilles.
Wu has represented the first Congressional District of Oregon since a historic election in 1998, when he became the first Chinese-American member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Wu’s campaign spokesperson, Julia Krahe, said that Wu is primarily focused on middle class families and putting them back to work. She states that Wu is taking this campaign, like all elections, very seriously, and she wants voters to know the differences between her candidate and the opposition.
The media have been filled with her candidate’s advertisements, which are also quick to point out the difference between Wu and Cornilles.
Krahe said that Wu is dissatisfied with Washington, D.C., politics in regard to the economy and the lack of oversights. Wu hopes to change this in future sessions of Congress. He also said he wants to focus on ending big businesses’ rule over the economy and supporting Oregon small businesses while also ending wasteful governmental spending.
Specifically for the Yamhill county area, Wu has been a strong supporter of the Newberg-Dayton bypass, which would open up travel between Yamhill and Portland. Also, he introduced the “Rebuilding Local Business Act,” an act designed to adjust the Small Business Administration’s zones of aide throughout Oregon, to help provide businesses in economically distressed zones a chance to receive recognition and support at the national level.
It is this kind of practical legislative support that Wu has became famous for.
“Wu is really good at diving into legislation . . . and finding out what will really help the people of Oregon,” Krahe said.
• • •
On the Republican side of the aisle stands Wu’s competitor Cornilles. In all of the campaigns, the differences between these two candidates couldn’t be more striking.
One element missing from Cornilles’ background is prior experience in politics. However, rather than viewing it as a negative quality that voters should be afraid of, Cornilles sees it as a positive. He prides himself throughout his campaign as being the candidate who will bring change to Washington and will not engage in divisive partisanship. When looking at his campaign against Wu, he believes he is showing his commitment to doing just that.
“I am trying to focus on issues real and important to the electorate while . . . Wu is trying to change the subject,” Cornilles said.
As for issues, he, too, is focused primarily on the economy and, like Wu, also focused strongly on education. He believes that his background as a businessman, and a local one at that, will make him the correct candidate for the job. He said he knows what Oregon residents need and what will work for them and believes he also knows what the trick to resorting the American economy really is: confident leadership from the top.
Cornilles said he believes that for Congress to change and repair the economy, it has to show confidence in and to the American people. He believes that he, along with many Republicans running for office across the country, knows this and knows that legislators must stimulate the economy from the top before any trickle-down effect can be achieved.
He also said he is committed to balancing the federal budget. Congress has been saying for months that it will pass a federal budget by the end of 2010 to cap spending but recently has said that this will not happen after all. Cornilles said he believes this to be inexcusable and vows to balance the budget while in Congress.

by Matthew Sunderland/Senior reporter
Matthew Sunderland can be reached at linfieldreviewfeatures@gmail.com.

Stop blaming others and take responsibility

“The conservative Tea Party movement has won several victories over mainstream U.S. Republicans in primary contests ahead of
November’s midterm elections,” reads a Sept. 15 BBC story.
I can’t help laughing when I read news like this.
“Republicans are hoping to benefit from anger over the U.S. economy to win both houses of the U.S. Congress in November,” the
story continues.
President Obama was elected because people blamed Republicans for economic problems. Now people are voting for more
Republicans and “Tea Partiers” because they blame Democrats for the continued economic problems.
At this rate we’ll just keep tossing the blame back and forth and bouncing between both parties. And, of course, the economy won’t
get any better. Neither party can fix it anyway.
But we have to blame somebody, right? OK, I blame you. And me. It’s everybody’s fault. America is democratic, isn’t it? Let’s take
some responsibility.
We screwed up the economy by letting it get to this point. The economy is driven by consumers (us). We are steered here and there
by corporations who use us to manipulate the economy to give them the most profit. If you can control consumers, you can control
the economy.
The rich kept manipulating the economy to get richer but eventually went too far by trying to take more money than people had to
give, causing an economic meltdown.
The government’s attempts to alleviate this collapse so far have been to throw money we don’t have at the problem, with bailouts
and stimulus packages. Occasionally a big company will get a slap on the wrist too.
What we actually need to do is revamp the entire system — something the government won’t just do on its own — and stop allowing
ourselves to be manipulated by those who would try to control the economy.
I’m no expert on economics, but it’s fairly easy to see how it got out of hand and how pitiful our attempts to fix it have been.
We got ourselves into this mess by allowing this economic circus to continue for so long. We’re the ones who are going to have to
get ourselves out of it. And we certainly won’t do so by continuing to vote for Democrats and Republicans for national offices. No matter
which of the two you vote for, you’re likely to get the same thing: an imperialist or capitalist who will accomplish just barely enough to
keep his or constituents happy (a simple feat), but who will largely preserve the status-quo, and often in an attempt to get re-elected.
Of course, not all elected officials fit this bill, but a majority of them do and so has practically every president.
So if you think voting will somehow have any real impact on the economy, think again. It’s going to take a lot more than that. All you
need to do is open your eyes a bit and think more critically. Pay attention to those in power and to what’s happening around you. Be
inquisitive. Inform yourself. Question the beliefs and statements of others. Question yourself; question me! Never accept anything at
face-value; be skeptical. You have to get confused about an issue if you want to fully understand it.
In short, think about how things are, and then think about how things should be. And, please, think long and hard.
I’m not some political guru or anything, I’m just a pissed off teenager with strong beliefs who’s tired of fake liberals, stupid
conservatives and ignorant Americans.
If I’ve offended you, then I’m glad. I’m so tired of everybody trying not to step on the toes of others. People’s views need to be
offended every now and then, it gets them uppity, and that’s the only way to get shit done.
So, please, get offended, but do something about it as well. Let’s argue a bit. If you can’t effectively argue (“I’m right; you’re wrong,”
doesn’t count) for what you believe, maybe you had better do some re-evaluating.
Let’s stop playing the political blame game and take some responsibility and figure things out ourselves, even if it means stepping on
some toes.

Managing editor
Braden Smith can be reached at linfieldreviewmanaging@gmail.com.