Let me finish tonight with the question of open service in the U.S. military.
I think "don't ask, don't tell" was probably destined to be an intermediate solution in the debate between those who supported and those who opposed open service. The premise was that a gay person would agree to a strange compact on joining the military services. A gay person would be allowed to serve as other Americans but only if he or she didn't say they were gay, if they didn't declare their sexual orientation in some other direct way.
Let me finish tonight with something good that came of this book-burning craziness and the now-related issue of the New York Islamic center.
This Saturday, I stood facing Philadelphia's Independence Hall as a group of Islamic, Jewish and Christian leaders prayed from their religious texts in a spirit of inter-religious tolerance.
Let me finish tonight with a salute to the new Obama political strategy...
For two years, the President avoided attacks on the Republicans. He had promised to stay above the pettier forms of partisan politics and he stuck to it.
Let me finish tonight with some things the president said today in Cleveland.
It was a partisan speech, as a president can be expected to give in a tough election season. But deep in his message today was the heartbeat of the campaign that won him the White House.
"Although we are proud to be Democrats, we are prouder to be Americans.”
Let me finish tonight with the need for an Obama shake-up.
I said on Friday that President Obama needs to bring in Hillary Clinton as defense chief to give his defense department a clear Democratic lead, bolster his Middle East Peace deal - which could make this administration - and also strengthen, let's admit it, the Obama-Clinton coalition, which is the very heart of this administration.
Let me finish tonight with a plan to strengthen America's ability to solve its problems. It's tough and it's watertight.
President Obama has many strengths as this country's head of state. He is clear-minded, gifted in intellect, artful in presenting issues and his vision of leadership.
However, these past two years have been a shakedown cruise. We have seen the weaknesses in the ship of state. It's come time for the shake-up.
Let me finish tonight with the dire political future facing the Democrats two months from now.
Here it is straight from the shoulder. No bedside manner. Strictly Hardball.
It looks like the Republicans are going to win control of the U.S. government next January. If they win the House of Representatives, that's enough. They'll control tax policy, spending policy, overall fiscal policy, trade policy, and they'll control the power of subpoena. They can push tax cuts up to the hilt, and launch endless investigations of the administration.
Let me finish tonight with the politics of this November.
If the Republicans want to roll up the score, they're on the right path. Energized by the tea party grassroots, driven by a nasty economy and by a ferocious propaganda campaign that paints the Democrat in the White House as a terrorist sympathizer, they can just keep doing what they're doing: shouting anger about unemployment, government spending and national debt all the while praising the Lord.
Just sell how bad things are and the joys of deliverance, first by them, later by faith to heaven.
The people who had their hearts set on this war didn't really care what arguments would get us into it. They just wanted in.
They tried connecting it to 9/11. Again and again, they tried that, failing each time.
They tried connecting it to the anthrax that was mailed to Tom Brokaw and Tom Daschle.
They tried connecting it the African country of Niger where they said Saddam had tried to buy uranium. The president told that to us in a State of the Union, he and vice president Cheney deliberately overruling evidence to the contrary.
I was out of town or I would have been down there talking to people. That's what I did during the Million Man march back in1995 and was glad I did. It's one thing to listen to the guy on the stage talking through an amplifier. It's another to listen quietly to the people standing in the grass. You get a lot of different, more personal attitudes.I saw the people coming across Memorial Bridge Saturday morning. They were regular people - like people I grew up with - middle-middle. Maybe a little more conservative - some wore giant flags on their chests - but real people, regular Americans. read more
Let me finish with those few lines from the Martin Luther King, Jr. speech of 1963.
“But not only that: Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.”
Dr. King was talking about the founding place of the KKK, Stone Mountain, the site of the Scottsboro Boys trial, Lookout Mountain.
This was 1963, never forget. The civil rights bill was a year away.
Let me finish tonight with the story of Ken Mehlman.
Ken was campaign manager for President George W. Bush's re-election campaign of 2004. He was also chairman of the Republican National Committee.
What brings him back into the news is his public acknowledgement that he's gay. He said he plans to be an advocate for gay rights within the Republican party.
Let me finish tonight with a tribute to a leader. Whatever your position on the proposed Islamic center in southern Manhattan, this is one person who has stood up, stood out and done the fine thing, the historic thing.
Again, there are people of goodwill on both sides of this debate, good people with different views. There are also, to be truly candid, some real troublemakers, people who love this topic and this fight "precisely" because it has drawn heat.
Michael Smerconish writes: Lost in the deluge of news reports about the Ground Zero mosque was this headline from yesterday's New York Times: "U.S. Said to Plan Easing Rules for Travel to Cuba."
Michael Smerconish writes: Permit me a final word about that mosque. If you havent already, I recommend that you take the time to read the president's actual remarks from Friday. My hunch is that you will be hard-pressed to disagree with anything he actually said.