Let me finish tonight with a political story of my own, from when I was in the business myself.
Last night I spoke at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library north of Los Angeles.
I talked about the old-time relationship between two politicians, Reagan and Speaker Tip O'Neill, and how they carried on their rivalry which involved some pretty big stuff.
I'm not talking about people who are worried – angry even – about the bad economy, high unemployment, the deficit, or the rising national debt. Who isn't? Everything that's been happening in the economy – highlighted by the financial crisis of the fall of 2008 – is scary. It's only added to what I think are highly justified concerns about this country's growing tendency to rely on borrowing, not only to offset economic downturns (which made sense when it was taught in school), but also as a standard operating procedure.
Guest host Michael Smerconish writes: Finally, a controversy born in my hometown (Chris's hometown) of Philadelphia on Election Day 2008, that is back in the news this month.
It's the case of the two New Black Panthers allegedly intimidating voters - hurling racial epithets as one brandished a nightstick - outside a North Philadelphia polling place.
I'm thinking their actions were more about "television" than "turnout."
Let me finish tonight with a totally political commentary.
Sometimes what's needed is not a change in policy but an upgrade in politics.
This is precisely where President Obama stands now.
He's got a good, sellable record.
He signed up with President Bush to prevent a financial collapse in the fall of 2008. That's something FDR didn't do with Hoover, spend some political capital to help the country even before inauguration.
I think the Republican Party is making a happy home for these folks.
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., is the most recent to swing wide the gate. He was asked where he stands on whether President Obama should be sued for not being an American, and he said that such a suit would be "valid and possibly effective."
It's the economic hammerlock we're in.
First, we need to get the recovery going because without a stronger recovery this high unemployment is going to go on and on. It's going to go on hurting people – men and women, old and young and in between, people who really want to work, work full-time, but can't find work.
Track the movement of LeBron James last night: He's leaving Cleveland, Ohio, for Miami, Florida.
Power and money head south, to where people have been heading this past century, followed perhaps by basketball power. Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Lebron James – call them the “Three Basketeers” – are all heading to the Miami Heat because of air conditioning, that which makes the “heat” bearable year-round.
It's not just roundball that's headed south.
Let me finish with that wonderful rule codified by columnist Michael Kinsley. "A gaffe is when you tell the truth."
I have a hunch this Kinsley rule will reign for years, you know, a watch-phrase in the political arena like Tip O'Neill's observation that "All politics is local."
Latest example of the rule: Republican leader Michael Steele's observation that "the one thing you don't do is engage in a land war in Afghanistan." He added that "everyone who has tried it over a thousand years of history has failed."
Let me finish tonight with those classic "two kinds of people."
There's "two kinds of people" in this country right now: the ones who want things to get better. They want BP to plug that oil spill at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico; want the American economy to take off and start producing jobs; want Congress and the president to get it done on immigration, stop the illegal entry into the country, "really" stop it, while letting people who've been here work their way to citizenship.
It's the unemployment rate.
Want to know something? When Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford in 1976, the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent. When Ronald Reagan beat Jimmy Carter, the unemployment rate was 7.5 percent. When Bill Clinton beat the senior George Bush, the unemployment rate was 7.4 percent.
Does recent history suggest that high unemployment means you get booted from the American presidency? Yes, but…
Let me finish with the dangerous, disgusting, dispiriting thought that we, this self-governing republic, are simply not up to the job.
Let's take immigration, the topic the president addressed today. Let me now talk to people who believe we, as Americans, have a right to say on what terms people get to enter this country.
We all know the basis of any immigration "fix." We need to find some way to stop the flow of illegal immigration. We need to find a way of dealing with the people who made their lives here and became a living part of our country.
"Byrd, who died Monday at age 92, served longer than any other senator in history, and it was his love of the Senate that drove the decision to honor him on the Senate floor, rather than in the Capitol Rotunda where other prominent figures are memorialized."
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Video: Chris' tribute to Sen. Byrd