Posts Tagged ‘Bill O’Reilly’

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CONTENDER

November 19, 2009

As we approach the mid-term elections in 2010, it seems all of the focus is on the inevitable: the Democrats will lose seats in the House and Senate. The erosion of a president’s approval rating is also part of the political cycle. We Americans like diversity in our government. When one party controls both houses of congress and the White House, we get a little nervous.

Although the Republican Party is leaderless, the hardcore Conservative Movement has many leaders (*see the partial list below) and is pushing hard to cleanse the party of moderates. This is a HUGE mistake. Moderates attract independent voters. Without them, you’re left with the extremists in your party. By the time we get to the next Presidential Election, the number of people who call themselves independents will probably grow to about 40% of the voting population – not a good sign for the hard right or the hard left.

There’s been much discussion about who will be the Republican Nominee in 2012. Naturally, people go back to the names they know: Palin, Huckabee, Romney, etc. But there is a Republican you may not have heard about.

He’s fiscally conservative, voting “nay” on virtually every appropriations bill that comes up, including T.A.R.P. Obviously, he is already holding an elected office in congress. He is Pro-Life and pro-guns, including advocating for conceal carry laws. He seems to be moderate on climate and energy issues. He’s also seems to be down-the-middle on education issues, but does think “No Child Left Behind” is a good model for improving our schools. He’s very pro-military, possibly bordering on neo-conservatism.

According to Real Clear Politics, he’s considered a “dark horse” for a presidential bid in 2012, but I disagree. He knows how to raise money. (He’s sitting on $5.5M for his re-election bid next year.) He’s younger than most of the potential candidates, camera-ready, and could easily appeal to conservative independents.

Could he beat Obama in 2012? I doubt it – unless our President completely falls apart in his first term – an extremely unlikely scenario. But he could use the exposure in 2012 to make a very strong bid for the White House in 2016. Typically, second terms for Presidents are not as strong as first terms. Because of this, vice-presidents running for their boss’s position are not usually successful, historically speaking. Considering Biden will be 74 years old on November 20, 2016, there is a very good chance he won’t run for President. This would certainly create a scenario that could give a well-known, seemingly moderate Republican, a 50-50 shot at winning the White House. If Obama’s second term goes well, a Republican’s chance of winning decreases substantially against a formidable Democratic candidate.

The Republican I speak of is John Thune of South Dakota. 

Among the other “dark horses” mentioned in the Real Clear Politics article are Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn.

There was one other “dark horse” mentioned: Dick Cheney.

Sincerely,

www.MichaelKontras.com

* Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, Mike Huckabee, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, among others.

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TWELVE WORDS

June 21, 2009

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“Anyone who can make you believe absurdities,

can make you commit atrocities.”

I know. I know. It’s just a bumper sticker.

But words are powerful. I wrote them down and drove off. As I continued running my errands that day, the sentence stayed with me. When I had the opportunity, I did a little “googling.”

With the exception of one word, the sentence is a quote from François-Marie Arouet, whose pen name is Voltaire. (He used the word “those” instead of “anyone.) After doing a little more research, I learned that this man was a bit of a non-conformist in his day. A contrarian, much like me.

A few days later, I was visiting with family and as is often the case, I started hearing FOX News/Rush Limbaugh talking points. “We’re losing our freedoms, one by one.” “We’re slowly becoming a European country” and “Our image around the world is weakening.” I listened to about three minutes of it, temporarily excused myself, and called my wife to tell her I was on my way.

As I was driving home, I remembered the Voltaire quote. While I know that no one in my family is capable of committing atrocities, I also know there are those who listen to hateful language from TV commentators and radio talk show hosts, day in and day out, that take these words to heart. Sadly and pathetically, some act on them.

Police officers killed in Pennsylvania because the shooter believed that President Obama was going to take his guns away. Where did he get that idea?

Dr. George Tiller murdered for performing legal medical procedures. Where did this gunman get the idea that Dr. Tiller was illegally killing babies?

To be sure, Bill O’Reilly is not Walter Conkrite and Keith Olbermann is not Tom Brokaw.

The 21st century, while bringing us incredible information technology, has also forced conventional media to move away from truth-telling to what has been called “Tabloid Television” and “Shock Radio.” The days of truthful television and radio “news” programs are all but gone.

If you are looking for the truth, unfortunately, you have to search for it. Fortunately, we have the internet. Yes, there’s plenty of spin there as well, but there are also plenty of facts. It’s not hard to discern the difference. The internet was responsible for the outcomes in the 2006 and 2008 elections. People started researching the “facts” heard on TV and radio, learned the truth about those “facts,” and voted accordingly. The corporate “noise machines” were not able to control the message, regardless of how many TV affiliates, radio stations and newspapers they owned. TV and radio ratings are becoming less and less significant. Internet traffic to news and information/video websites is the future.

Hearing absurdities from commentators is entertaining. Hearing them repeated by family members is something entirely different. My reaction is a mixture of surprise and sadness. The surprise is that these are educated people with good jobs and young families. The sadness – and concern – is for the children. What’s the take-away message for them when they hear their parents talking like this? No hope? No freedom? No future? No security? Hate? Fear?

Just a bumper sticker?

Really?

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com