Monday, August 22, 2005

2008 at a glance...Huckabee is clearly the best choice!

Tim Saler released his rankings for the party nominations again this weekend. Governor Mike Huckabee found his way back to the top, and in my opinion so he should.

Here are the recaps of the negativity found with each of the top 4:
1. US Sen. John McCain (Arizona)

McCain has had a decent week, which is to say that he didn’t appear very much, aside from perhaps making a minor fool out of himself showing up in Alaska with Senators Clinton, Collins, and Graham to investigate global warming.

2. US Sen. Sam Brownback (Kansas)

One thing that Brownback might want to consider doing if he wants to absolutely lock up Christian conservatives for the primary is to offer up a constitutional ban on abortion in the Senate.

3. US Sen. George Allen (Virginia)

Some people have come to the conclusion that Allen is an idiot. Others have decided that he only does that which is politically expedient. Either way, both of these attacks are liable to stick within a primary atmosphere. That being said, Republican voters are not often the kind of people who put oratorical ability or conspicuous displays of intelligence at the top of their list of preferred attributes and behavior when looking for a candidate.

4. Fmr. US Rep. Newt Gingrich (Georgia)

One of the biggest dark horses of 2008, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, does he really seem presidential?

And then the best entry written on Saler's site...the # 5 spot on the top 5 for the republican nomination:

5. Gov. Mike Huckabee (Arkansas)

Huckabee will be visiting New Hampshire this week, and any time a serious candidate for the presidency goes up to an early primary or caucus state, it’s going to get recognition and coverage. Huckabee heading up north to the Granite State is no exception. Well-liked by virtually everyone who comes in contact with him, in terms of presidential potential for 2008, Huckabee is in the unique situation of being an experienced governor, a battle-tested social conservative, and finding himself out of office after the 2006 elections. He is charismatic, compassionate, articulate, and has a good personal story to tell. In other words, he is everything that you could ask for in a presidential candidate. What remains to be seen, more than anything else, is whether or not he can raise funds at the level required to compete in a race as competitive and high-stakes as the 2008 GOP presidential primary will be. If he can raise the funds necessary, he ought to squeeze Brownback with social conservatives, perhaps drawing off significant votes and endorsements in Southern primaries like those in South Carolina and Georgia, and make in-roads with moderates who think McCain is a bit too much of a loose cannon or, as is not often addressed on these rankings, is too old for the job. Altogether, it could be enough for Huckabee to win the nomination.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Cindy Sheehan and my sister...

Last week my mom forwarded me an email from one of my older sisters. It was about the story of her friend that was just killed in Iraq, as told by his father. The story was heartbreaking, as all tragedies are. The father spoke so eloquently about his son and his service to our country. I always get choked up reading stories like that. Then my sister attached a note at the bottom to my mom. She was asking all the usual questions, "How are ya'll?" "What's new?" "What are the plans for the holidays?" And then she dropped the bomb shell.

My sister went on to tell my mom she was so angry about her friend Brian's death...understandable, grieving is never easy. But then she proceeded to tell my mom how frustrated she was with the war and how furious she was with the military. This is when my understanding went out the window and I put on my angry pants.

I couldn't understand how my sister who was raised by the same career military father that I was could have such words for the military institution. My sister grew up on Air Force bases, and was raised by a father who retired only due to health problems after 25 years. Everything my sister ever had was provided for by the military's compensation for my dad's duties. I just couldn't fathom it. She grew up, just like I did, listening to my Dad's stories from the Korean and Vietnam war. How dare she speak so ill of the men and women who are fighting abroad and protecting us here at home? I just couldn't understand.

This is just another thing in a long series of events that my sister and I do not meet eye to eye on. I'm sure it will be awhile before I speak to her, somewhat out of frustration and somewhat out of theory that we would have nothing to say to each other.

But today as I was sitting here thinking about her email, which makes me more and more mad every time...I received a story that was forwarded to me by my brother, apparently another one of the more patriotic children my dad has. I wanted to put it on here in hopes that my sister will see that not everyone agrees with what Cindy Sheehan is doing in Crawford, Texas. And not everyone blames the military for the loss of their loved ones. There are still people who believe what they are doing in Iraq is a worthy cause, and yes I am one of them. So here's the story....

Honor their service. Never dishonor them by giving in. They never did.
Posted by: L.V.Ash 07:59:24 am
She Does Not Speak for Me
My son died in Iraq--and it was not in vain.

Thursday, August 18, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT

I lost a son in Iraq and Cindy Sheehan does not speak for me.

I grieve with Mrs. Sheehan, for all too well I know the full measure of the agony she is forever going to endure. I honor her son for his service and sacrifice. However, I abhor all that she represents and those who would cast her as the symbol for parents of our fallen soldiers.

The fallen heroes, until now, have enjoyed virtually no individuality. They have been treated as a monolith, a mere number. Now Mrs. Sheehan, with adept public relations tactics, has succeeded in elevating herself above the rest of us. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida declared that Mrs. Sheehan is now the symbol for all parents who have lost children in Iraq. Sorry, senator. Not for me.

Maureen Dowd of the New York Times portrays Mrs. Sheehan as a distraught mom standing heroically outside the guarded gates of the most powerful and inhumane man on earth, President Bush. Ms. Dowd is so moved by Mrs. Sheehan's plight that she bestowed upon her and all grieving parents the title of "absolute moral authority." That characterization epitomizes the arrogance and condescension of anyone who would presume to understand and speak for all of us. How can we all possess "absolute moral authority" when we hold so many different perspectives?

I don't want that title. I haven't earned that title.

Although we all walk the same sad road of sorrow and agony, we walk it as individuals with all the refreshing uniqueness of our own thoughts shaped in large measure by the life and death of our own fallen hero. Over the past few days I have reached out to other parents and loved ones of fallen heroes in an attempt to find out their reactions to all the attention Mrs. Sheehan has attracted. What emerges from those conversations is an empathy for Mrs. Sheehan's suffering but a fundamental disagreement with her politics.

Ann and Dale Hampton lost their only child, Capt. Kimberly Hampton, on Jan. 2, 2004, while she was flying her Kiowa helicopter. She was a member of the 82nd Airborne and the company commander. She had already served in Afghanistan before being deployed to Iraq. Ann Hampton wrote, "My grief sometimes seems unbearable, but I cannot add the additional baggage of anger. Mrs. Sheehan has every right to protest . . . but I cannot do that. I would be protesting the very thing that Kimberly believed in and died for."

Marine Capt. Benjamin Sammis was Stacey Sammis's husband. Ben died on April 4, 2003, while flying his Super Cobra helicopter. Listen to Stacey and she will tell you that she is just beginning to understand the enormousness of the character of soldiers who knowingly put their lives at risk to defend our country. She will tell you that one of her deepest regrets is that the world did not have the honor of experiencing for a much longer time this outstanding Marine she so deeply loved.

Speak to Joan Curtin, whose son, Cpl. Michael Curtin, was an infantryman with the 2-7th 3rd ID, and her words are passionately ambivalent. She says she has no room for bitterness. She has a life to lead and a family to nurture. She spoke of that part of her that never heals, for that is where Michael resides. She can go on, always knowing there will be that pain.

Karen Long is the mother of Spc. Zachariah Long, who died with my son Kyle on May 30, 2003. Zack and Kyle were inseparable friends as only soldiers can be, and Karen and I have become inseparable friends since their deaths. Karen's view is that what Mrs. Sheehan is doing she has every right to do, but she is dishonoring all soldiers, including Karen's son, Zack. Karen cannot comprehend why Mrs. Sheehan cannot seem to come to grips with the idea that her own son, Casey, was a soldier like Zack who had a mission to complete. Karen will tell you over and over again that Zack is not here and no one, but no one will dishonor her son.

My wife, Robin, has a different take on Mrs. Sheehan. She told me, "I don't care what she says or does. She is no more important than any other mother."

By all accounts Spc. Casey Sheehan, Mrs. Sheehan's son, was a soldier by choice and by the strength of his character. I did not have the honor of knowing him, but I have read that he attended community college for three years and then chose to join the Army. In August 2003, five months into Operation Iraqi Freedom and after three years of service, Casey Sheehan re-enlisted in the Army with the full knowledge there was a war going on, and with the high probability he would be assigned to a combat area. Mrs. Sheehan frequently speaks of her son in religious terms, even saying that she thought that some day Casey would be a priest. Like so many of the individuals who have given their lives in service to our country, Casey was a very special young man. How do you decry that which someone has chosen to do with his life? How does a mother dishonor the sacrifice of her own son?

Mrs. Sheehan has become the poster child for all the negativity surrounding the war in Iraq. In a way it heartens me to have all this attention paid to her, because that means others in her position now have the chance to be heard. Give equal time to other loved ones of fallen heroes. Feel the intensity of their love, their pride and the sorrow.

To many loved ones, there are few if any "what ifs." They, like their fallen heroes before them, live in the world as it is and not what it was or could have been. Think of the sacrifices that have brought us to this day. We as a country made a collective decision. We must now live up to our decision and not deviate until the mission is complete.

Thirty-five years ago, a president faced a similar dilemma in Vietnam. He gave in and we got "peace with honor." To this day, I am still searching for that honor. Today, those who defend our freedom every day do so as volunteers with a clear and certain purpose. Today, they have in their commander in chief someone who will not allow us to sink into self-pity. I will not allow him to. The amazing part about talking to the people left behind is that I did not want them to stop. After speaking to so many I have come away with the certainty of their conviction that in a large measure it's because of the deeds and sacrifices of their fallen heroes that this is a better and safer world we now live in.

Those who lost their lives believed in the mission. To honor their memory, and because it's right, we must believe in the mission, too.

We refuse to allow Cindy Sheehan to speak for all of us. Instead, we ask you to learn the individual stories. They are glorious. Honor their memories.

Honor their service. Never dishonor them by giving in. They never did.

Mr. Griffin is the father of Spc. Kyle Andrew Griffin, a recipient of the Army Commendation Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal and the Bronze Star, who was killed in a truck accident on a road between Mosul and Tikrit on May 30, 2003.

Cindy Sheehan and my older sister...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

countdown to the Weekend...

I went to an interview yesterday at the Office of Presidential Correspondence, through the White House, and the woman interviewing me asked me, why do you want to work in government and/or politics?

I paused for a moment and I answered with this, "Growing up in Arkansas under the Governors, Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee, showed me a lot about politics and how the government can help people. I saw through both of these prominent Governors what both sides of the political lines can mean to a state and it's citizens. I have learned from the decisions and mandates made by both of these politicians. And much of this process has helped me to personally determine my political beliefs and sparked my interest in a career in politics. I side with the opinions of Governor Huckabee over those of Clinton. I have seen how is compassion and his conservative beliefs have bettered my state and the citizens that live there. I have seen how sticking to what you believe personally, biblically, spiritually, mentally and physically can alter the way of life for an entire state. I embrace that type of ability to influence others.

A friend of mine had some quotes on her blog today and one of them really fit why I want to be in politics, so I thought I would share. Too bad I didn't know this yesterday, I could have seemed really intelligent to this woman!

"By remaining small and simple and unselfish, we may become something really big and important." I don't want to be really big and important for personal gain, but because those are the people that are able to help people in a large amount.

Today in Arkansas, a young man will walk out of jail for the first time in 8 years. This young boy at the age of 13 was one of the people responsible for the Jonesboro school shootings that took the lives of innocent students and an innocent teacher just doing her job. He turns 21 years old today, hence his release from prison. I don't know how I feel about that. He served his time, completed his punishment. But does it really do justice to the terrible crime he committed. His mother is reported as saying he will not be returning to live in Arkansas, I myself am glad.

Also released today, the most conservative and liberal cities in the United States. Detroit, Michigan was named the most liberal city in the U.S. Damn yankees! And Provo, Utah was named the most conservative city.

Saturday is my great friend Huck's bday. She will be the big 2-3, if you are in D.C. you should come out and help us celebrate her birth and her life. Huck is one of the best friends I've ever had in my entire life. She is way more than I deserve in a friend. She really inspires me to be a better person and has faith in me even at times when she should have run away. I like that kid a lot.

Actually I like all my friends and room mates a lot. Great people.

I found out today they are shutting down this old bridge in Fayetteville that we use to go visit all the time, it was called Tilly Willy. I am really disappointed in whoever put that in the Federal Highway Bill. Such history there.

I will leave you with 2 words of wisdom to make you a better person today...


Monday, August 08, 2005

Life as we know it...

Life as I know it is surprisingly upbeat these days. You know when you receive those unexpected, but very pleasant surprises? Something about those can turn around an entire period of time. I guess that's a brief summary of life for me these days.

It's such a great feeling to meet someone who challenges you intellectually, yet makes you smile at the drop of the hat...Refreshing, to say the least.

Governor Huckabee's stock is on the rise even still. Being the NGA chair is comparable to the golden ticket in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. There is a big spread in the NY Times Magazine about his politics this week. More publicity, in a positive light, never hurt anyone.

My mind could still be changing about the 2008 ticket. Not in the regards of removing Huckabee of course, in my opinion he is the best candidate for the office of the President of the United States of America. It's his running mate, I debate myself on constantly. I began with McCain, then I came back to reality, no one needs a wishy washy partner. More recently I have pondered Romney, as seen in a previous entry. However my mind wavers constantly on that. Is America ready for a Mormon President? I think it's doubtful. So it's most certainly not McCain, and I'm thinking a no-go on Romney...So who? That's the question of the week!

Peter Jennings passed away of lung cancer late last night. I hate cancer, I despise makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs and hit something. It's things that devastate lives like cancer that make me a supporter of Stem Cell Research. I hate what cancer does to people and to the people who love those who suffer. My pal Brook's boyfriend Patrick has cancer, and it sucks. SO MUCH. I hate it for him, he is so young and so vibrant. I hate it for her, to see how much it hurts her to not be able to stop his pain. I hate what it does to them. But I admire them so much for their courage, their love and their hope. I only pray that I could be that strong in such a trying situation. It only strengthens the fact that the first question I will ask when I get to heaven is, why did You let bad things happen to such good people? Some say that is the faith of a doubter, I say it's the faith of someone who struggles for every inch of their beliefs.

Last week was my final interview for a job I thought was perfect. I didn't get the job. But the disappointment never set in. I don't know if I knew I wouldn't get it all along or if I just have become complacent in my life. I hope not. I want to be that go get 'em kind of person. I want to be the person that does what it takes to be successful, but not by stepping on those around them. People like that make me sick. I want to be that person that does something good for someone else. I don't want to do it for fame or fortune, I just want to make a difference. Is that so much to ask?

So, the synopsis, life is good...Right now it's actually great and very promising. It's funny the twists and turns life can take.

Keep it Republican...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Romney/Huckabee ' 08

I'm sure some of you are just waiting on pins and needles to discover who I think the best ticket for the Republican party will be in 2008.

Well wait no longer my it is:

Governor Mitt Romney of MA and Governor Mike Huckabee of AR!!!

I found a site with some info to fill you in on both candidates and their positives that I feel will assist in their run for the nomination and for the White House.

Governor Willard Mitt Romney (R-MA)
Born March 12, 1947
Resides in Belmont, Massachusetts

Mitt Romney is one of the few Governors from either party actively testings the waters for a 2008 run. Romney managed to become the Republican Governor of Massachusetts thought opinion polls indicate the novelty is wearing off on the liberal electorate in that state. Romney has been extremely effective at fixing the budget and has amassed a self-made fortune in the private sector. Mitt is also a Mormon which has been the focus of most of the media attention on him.

Political Career:Governor of Massachusetts 2002-
United States Senate Candidate 1994

B.A., Brigham Young
J.D. & M.B.A., Harvard University

Political Stances:
Abortion- Mitt is personally opposed to abortion but has been pro-choice as Governor. It seems like that's the stance of every office holder in Massachusetts. Romney is currently in a fight with the legislature over cloning legislation he opposes.

Taxation & The Economy- This category is where Mitt really shines. He took a $650 Million deficit and turned it into a $700 Million surplus. Even better, he did so without raising taxes or borrowing money. This is exactly what the country needs right now.

Foreign Policy-
Mitt sits on the Homeland Security Advisory Council. He has shown foresight by raising the possibility of an emerging threat to America from Asia. There's no reason not to expect he would be a hawk.

Gun Control-
Based on comments during his 1994 Senate campaign, he would lean more towards gun control.

Gay Marriage- Mitt has been an out-spoken opponent of the Massachusetts legislature's implementation of gay marriage.

Social Security, Immigration and the Judiciary- As a Governor he has not had much of an opportunity to comment on these issues. I suspect he'll let us know about them very soon.

Assets in the Primary:
Mitt is a Governor, that gives him a leg-up on the Senators trying to run. Mitt's opposition to gay marriage in Massachusetts will help him immensely and may even make him a heroic figure to the Republican base, the lone conservative battling against the Democrats in John Kerry's home state.

Mitt does not appear to have any skeletons in his closet. He is likely to remind many people of Ronald Reagan with his easy-going attitude.

Assets in the General Election:
If he wins the nomination he could be the first Republican in 20 years to take a "blue state."

The electorate will not be happy about the deficit in 2008 but they will be even more unhappy about the prospects of a tax hike. This could make a national version of Mitt's economic reform of Massachusetts a very appealing prospect.

Mitt has a very laid-back and pleasant manner. Odds are this will be a sharp contrast to the Democrat candidate who is usually unpleasant.

Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR)
Born August 24, 1955
Resides in Little Rock, AR

Mike Huckabee is from Hope, Arkansas just like President Bill Clinton. However, Huckabee is in many ways the antithesis of Bill Clinton. Huckabee was a Baptist pastor before entering politics. He served as Lt. Gov. to a Democratic Governor who was forced out of office because of a felony conviction in the Whitewater scandal. Huckabee recently gained national attention for his common sense approach to dieting. He has even more opportunities for national exposure now that he has become Chairman of the National Governors Association.

Political Career:
Governor of Arkansas 1996-
Lt. Governor of Arkansas 1993-1996

Ouachita Baptist University

Political Stances:
Healthcare- One of Huckabee's first acts as Governor was to create a health insurance program for those who could not afford private health insurance but do not qualify for medicaid. Huckabee is also outspoken about the need to reform Medicaid.

Education- Huckabee's education program introduced the public school systems to the foreign concept of actually focusing on English and math skills.

Social Issues- While Huckabee is conservative on most social issues, he has demonstrated an ability to frame or deflect those issues in a manner that will not alienate moderate voters.

Taxation & The Economy- Huckabee credits President Bush's economic policies with helping to improve the economy in Arkansas.

Assets in the Primary:
Huckabee is a great position to simply dominate the issue of healthcare among the Republican field. He'll also have the advantage on education. While some of the other candidates (Brownback especially) will have the upper-hand among social issue voters, Huckabee will be able to make a strong showing.

The other Republican Governors who will be running appear to be Pataki, Allen, and Romney. Huckabee has had the luxury of governing in a less hostile environment than Romney or Pataki and thus has accomplished more of his agenda. Allen was term limited to a mere four years as Governor while Huckabee will have had ten to accomplish his goals.

Assets in the General Election:
Huckabee doesn't appear to have any skeletons in his closet.

He can campaign on a strong record as Governor of Arkansas. He could campaign on successes in the educational system and healthcare as major issues. In many ways, a Huckabee '08 campaign could end up being similar to Bush 2000.

Huckabee has an attitude that voters will respond well to. He's a friendly guy, picked up valuable communication skills as a pastor, and is fun (he headlines a band called The Capitol Offenses).

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

New world

So blogging apparently is the cool thing to do these days. I had a xanga for awhile, but somehow now I feel like that was so high school/college.

I'm new to the real world, 2 months new. It's still culture shock to me on a daily basis. As everyone starts to head back to college in a few weeks, saddness enters my mind. I will miss those days, and cherish them always.

So I live and work in D.C. now, which is a dream come true for me. It's still weird to me that this is my life.

D.C. is pretty much everything I dreamed it would be. There are still quirks to the town and people that annoy me, but that's part of life. I laugh on a daily basis at how important people try to act.

I don't even begin to pretend that I am important, I'm merely a staff assistant working on government contracts for a Republican lobbying firm.

Speaking of Republican, it's true that I am. And I am sick and tired of people accusing me of arriving at my political beliefs and ideals because of my parents or because it was cool where I went to school. I have you know when I was growing up, my parents were Democrats. They both even worked for the almighty Bill Clinton. But it didn't sway my opinions and eventually they came to see the light, the Republican light.

I don't hold my political opinions because someone else does. I hold my Republican beliefs because I am pro life, pro capital punishment, anti homosexual marriage-socially and fiscally conservative if you will.

I was born and raised in the south, the great state of Arkansas is home to me. I am not a redneck, I do not live in a po-dunk town, and I do wear shoes 24/7, even if they are flipflops. I am also tired of people making these misconceptions about me and others like "that I must be ignorant because I am from the South." I have you know I graduated college just like people from the North do, even though math has always been a struggle for me!

I love sports. I'm a typical Southern girl in that respect. College football and Major League Baseball are my favorite sports to watch. And yes, I am an Arkansas Razorback fan. No, they don't always win, and yes they will get killed by USC this season-but I am loyal, definitely not a fair-weather fan! I do truly believe the SEC is the toughest conference in college football, and yes I know every conference believes that.

That's a little insight into my life and maybe an idea of what you can expect from this blog, if you ever decide to read it.