Let me finish tonight with politicians. They say they don't "pay attention to polls." They do, of course. They not only pay attention, they "pay" for polls! It's the first thing candidates do when they begin a campaign: they hire a first-rate pollster and find out what people are thinking.Personally I love polls. I love knowing what my fellow Americans think. I doubt it affects my thinking. In fact, if you've watched me over the years you may have noticed I am "counter-popular." The country was getting stirred against Saddam Hussein. read more
Let me finish tonight with that incredible American scene from late Friday: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, together in what I'm convinced is the most vital political alliance in the country.
Obama and the Clintonsm, Hillary and Bill both, have forged a political bond that is working for the country, for the Democratic party, and for them.
Let me finish tonight with the real-life impact of this tax deal the president got from the Republicans.For one, it's a heck of a lot of stimulus - almost a trillion dollars in money being fed into the economy: tax cuts, unemployment benefits, all going into the market place to buy goods and services - pumping the economy up far more than the "stimulus" bill passed last year.I was clued into this reality by today's column by Charles Krauthammer, a quite conservative gentleman with whom I rarely share common ground. Here he went this morning:“Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010 read more
Let me finish tonight with the fight on the left.This is a good fight. It's a fight over values, over what a party believes in, what it cares about, "why" it exists.The Democratic Party is the party of the little guy. read more
Let me finish tonight with a hero of mine - John Lennon.There were times, especially in my twenties, when I would list up my heroes. I wanted to know who on this earth personified what I valued - in achievement, in guts, in talent. It was like balancing my checkbook. I just wanted to know.Lennon was on that list, along with writer Norman Mailer and a few other cultural heroes of the 1960s. When you think about it, how could the leader of the Beatles not be on such a list?They'd come to this country early in 1964, that gloomy, gray winter after John F. read more
Let me finish tonight with the Democrats' dilemma on taxes.It's that people in this country are conflicted about wealth. We're not the old British Labour party that hates the rich because they never expect to "be" rich. We're not like that. Americans, a lot of us, have it in our DNA, our birthright that we can make it, too, or our kids can. Unlike the Brits we don't think the obstacles to getting ahead, the old class divides, are walls we can't climb. So this "soak the rich!" line isn't hitting a homer with the great majority of the American people who aren't rich.Proof: a new USA TODAY - read more
Let me finish tonight by recognizing World AIDS Day.Last year, more than 33 million people worldwide were living with HIV.That's up from 26 million a decade before.But according to a report in the Christian Science Monitor, UNAIDS and other AIDS organizations are making progress in their efforts to control and eventually eradicate HIV/AIDS.World AIDS Day is a chance to take stock of how well these organizations are doing and where the world stands today.According to the 2010 report from UNAIDS, the United Nations' HIV/AIDS program, the overall HIV infection rate has declined almost 20 percent read more
The story that wasn't a story at all: the fuss over the TSA pat downs.
Let's compare a couple of things: How do you compare the GI who loses an arm overseas -- or more -- to the embarrassment someone might feel during an airport scan or even a pat down?
How do you compare those two? How do you say that one is worth the fight against terror and the other is not?
How do you compare the denial that waterboarding is torture, not that it may not be necessary (that's another argument) but that it's not torture? That's what the people on the right have been swearing to on a stack of Bibles. read more
Let me finish tonight on this eve of Thanksgiving to give thanks for this opportunity I have.As you can tell, it's really fun - even toward the end of week when we all get tired no matter how good the job.What I'm thankful for is to have this chance to basically "be myself" - a citizen of this country - and to show my human reaction to the events and issues of the day.I have always cared about them, actually.Since I was very young I cared about the two enduring issues of national government: what role we Americans should play in the world and what role the U.S. read more
Let me finish tonight with Sarah Palin.The downside for me of having never met her, I lack the full picture. Does she come off phoney or real in person? Can't tell you.But here's what I can tell you. She's got a dynamite instinct for the stage and I mean that as a real compliment. She knows the connection between the figure up there under the lights and the guy or woman down in the crowd. She can connect back and forth nano-second by nano-second with the audience and "boy" is that powerful stuff. And that goes for television, too. read more
Let me finish tonight with a matter the U.S. Congress should finish.It's called "don't ask, don't tell.” It's the law that tells the U.S. military to allow gay people to serve like everyone else – they can be gay, as long as they do not say they are gay.You have to wonder about the constitutionality of a law that requires people to refrain from admitting something that is true about themselves. Would it make sense to require that someone deny he or she is left-handed, refuse to allow anyone to know he or she is left-handed? Can we imagine such a stupid law? Could we justify such a law? read more
From msnbc.com's Kara Kearns:
Cindy McCain is advocating the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy – putting her at very public odds with her husband on the controversial issue.
She’s appearing in a new video geared toward eradicating the bullying of gay youth, produced by the California-based organization “NOH8.”
“Our political and religious leaders tell LGBT youth that they have no future," McCain says in the ad. “They can't serve our country openly.”
Let me finish tonight with two of my fixed positions on the role of government:One, If you can't protect your border, you're not a country.Two, If you can't control your budget, you're not a government.On the border, yes, you have to guard it humanely and, given our history, with a reasonable liberality. We are, after all, the land of immigrants.But countries have a right to decide how other people enter. If they don't take that responsibility seriously, they have failed their own nationhood.I want people living here right now to stay and be given legitimate documents. read more
Let me finish tonight with this matter of corruption.
"Power tends to corrupt," Lord Acton wrote. "Absolute power corrupts absolutely."
It's my experience that anyone who comes to Washington, this capitol city, better come with a strong moral code. There are other things you "can" pick up here. This is a city about power and its division. It is a good place to learn how to gain it, exert it, and, yes, share it. Limiting power, forcing people to share it, is what our constitution is all about.