Four years ago, I wrote this article about remembering 9/11. While Oregon today has a different governor - and as of the time of posting this, I have no idea if he has even issued any sort of statement this year - I believe my message still rings loud and clear. Please go read what I wrote back then.
I am trying to get a theme going across blogs, facebook and twitter. Post your own "dear Obama" message warning him that the Muslim Brotherhood is doing some trivial thing democrats waste time accusing Republicans or the Tea Party of doing. Here are some I've already thought up:
Dear President Obama: the Muslim Brotherhood does not provide women with free contraception. Please send Sandra Fluke to negotiate.
Dear President Obama: the Muslim Brotherhood has over a billion dollars of taxpayer money, and some of it might be invested in a Swiss bank. You should check that out while you are investigating Mitt Romney's tax returns.
Dear President Obama: I heard the Muslim Brotherhood might require members to have a photo ID. You should look into that.
Dear President Obama: children of the Muslim Brotherhood are eating more and more high fructose corn syrup. Please, think of the children!
Dear President Obama: I hear the Muslim Brotherhood is bitterly clinging to guns and religion. You may want Eric Holder to look into that.
Dear President Obama: I hear the Muslim Brotherhood may be supporting a War on Women. How about cutting their funding and donating it to breast cancer research instead?
Dear President Obama: I think the Muslim Brotherhood may not have all their tires properly inflated. They may be contributing to global warming. Please look into this!
Dear President Obama: I don't think the Muslim Brotherhood has enough Latino members. Maybe you should ask your Diversity Czar to check into that?
Dear President Obama, I think that some members of the Muslim Brotherhood actually believe in "legitimate rape." Please check into that.
Dear President Obama: I saw your allies, if that's what you think they are today, in the Muslim Brotherhood driving large, gas guzzling SUVs. Maybe you should buy them Chevy Volts instead!
That's enough to get you started. Share these, post your own to blogs, facebook and twitter, make them go viral!
I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is OBAMANDIAS, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
There is a lot of talk today about Condi Rice for VP. I like Condi and all. But it won't be her. She is perceived as a moderate - probably unjustly so, but the fact is, on some social issues, she is distrusted by the conservative base. This conservative base is already skeptical of Romney, so Romney needs a reassuring pick, not a controversial one in this regard. She is also closely associated with the Bush administration. Now remember, for the most part, I liked Bush. This is not a bad thing for me. But Obama wants to run against the last two years of the Bush administration - two years that went south, largely because Pelosi and Reid were running Congress... but I digress. Romney needs to be able to say that he would not be just another Bush Republican. Condi on the ticket negates that. Finally, unlike most other politicians who say it, when she says she never wants to run for office, she convinces me. So who should Romney choose? I say, Bobby Jindal:
1) Let's get the obvious out of the way - Jindal is an Indian-American, and Romney is a boring white guy. Jindal on the ticket would be abother historic first, and would forever change the race debates in this nation. The GOP would no longer be the white people party. And it would highlight the racial double-standard of the left: to liberals, if you are black or Mexican, you are a special minority. But if you are Asian, you are nothing to them. However, Asians have just surpassed hispanics as the fastest growing immigrant group. They are an important voting bloc, and have been largely ignored by politicians across the country. This would be big. Real big.
2) Jindal is both the second coming of, and at the same time, the polar opposite of, Sarah Palin. Palin and Jindal agree on most issues, excite the tea party and conservative base, and break ground as historic minority figures. Jindal would add needed fire to the Romney campaign as Palin did for McCain. But elites hated Palin, unfairly, because she is a "low brow" figure who took more than four years to graduate from a podunk state college and went on to do things like work on fishing boats instead of working at law firms, universities, or major corporations like "respectable" people. Jindal is at home with blue collar working class folks, but has elite cred up the wazoo (see below).
3) Jindal would be one of the most intelligent, best educated candidates on a ticket - just like Romney. Obama fans brag about his Harvard Law degree and tenure as a professor. Well... Romney graduated with honors from Harvard Law AND Harvard Business. He needs a running mate with similar achievement, to avoid diminishing his own. Jindal graduated from Brown with honors (double majoring, in just three years), then went to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, graduating with a Master's degree in Political Science, and was a consultant for McKinsey and Company and president of University of Louisiana - that's real brains, with the paper to back it up. It would be impossible for anyone to say with any credibility that the Republican Party is the "stupid" party with Jindal on the ticket alongside Romney.
4) Jindal has government experience and executive experience that defies belief for someone so young. Jindal was the head of Louisiana Health and Human Services, president of University of Louisiana, assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Congressman, and Governor of Louisiana - all before age 40. He is younger than I am by a year. I feel so pathetic in comparison! Romney's big advantage - his private sector experience - is also a weakness in that people expect a President (especially after the Obama nightmare) to have extensive experience running GOVERNMENT. Romney has only his one term as a governor; adding Jindal to the ticket would add incredible balance in that regard.
5) Jindal excites the tea party. Romney doesn't. A Romney-Jindal ticket unites the big tent of establishment GOP, moderates, conservatives, and the tea party. Romney needs that.
6) Jindal is right on the issues. He favors limited federal government, states' rights, low taxes, less regulation, secure borders, life, liberty, guns, babies, God and country. Jindal is top rated by Right to Life, the NRA, and Club for Growth. He has the right vision for America, and will help reassure those on our side who fear Romney lacks a conservative vision or core conservative principles.
7) Jindal has experience that Romney lacks. Jindal served on the Homeland Security Committee in Congress and has national security expertise. This helps make up for a significant Romney weakness while the U.S. is still engaged in the Global War on Terror and faces new threats from the likes of Iran.
8) Jindal is a turn-around specialist, like Romney, but with government instead of private business. As head of Louisiana HHS, Jindal wiped out a $400 million deficit and created a $200 million surplus. As governor, he rescued his state's credit rating. He has the same vision for rescuing failing organizations with sweeping changes for improved efficiency as Romney - but has experience doing it with failing governments.
9) Jindal's greatest area of expertise is healthcare policy. The GOP is running on repealing Obamacare. The left keeps saying the GOP has no vision for replacing it. Romney's greatest weakness is that he implemented Romneycare as governor. Having Jindal on the ticket demonstrates a commitment to making actual healthcare REFORM, and not just Obamacare repeal, a top priority.
10) Jindal is Catholic. Romney is Mormon. Many voters will not support a Mormon. The Catholic Church has been, historically, one of the most critical anti-Mormon organizations. A Mormon-Catholic ticket would be an incredible thing, more so (in my opinion) than a Mormon-Protestant ticket. While there are many Protestant evangelicals who will not support Romney, I believe their biggest problem with him isn't religion so much as perceived weakness on social issues like abortion, gay marriage, and gun control. Jindal would do more to help with this than probably any Protestant other than Mike Huckabee - and Huckabee would do more harm with tea party conservatives than he would help with social conservative evangelicals.
11) JIndal has been vetted. He has been elected and re-elected congressman and governor. Louisiana is a tough state for politics. If there was dirt on Jindal, it would have already derailed him.
12) Jindal has handled crisis. He succeeded in leading during the Gulf oil spill and Hurricane Gustav when other states failed, and in stark contrast to Katrina before he became governor. When the 3 a.m. call comes, Jindal will have a cool head and get right to work solving the crisis.
13) Unlike some other potential candidates, Jindal was not in Congress during the end of the Bush years, and therefore does not have a TARP vote to rationalize! He has congressional experience (important, as VP is also President of the Senate), but without a long history of bad votes to drag him down.
14) Jindal has a strong family story. He is the child of immigrants. His parents came to America to make use of their education in a free country. His siblings are all successes. His wife is a chemical engineer with an MBA working on her PhD. Everyone in the family has strong personal values. There won't be any embarassing uncles showing up drunk or children being born out of wedlock.
And that brings up something that needs discussed: there is a lunatic fringe of the birther crowd who will claim Jindal is not eligible under the Constitution. Let's just clear this up. HE IS. Jindal was born in the United States. His parents came to America legally, under a visa, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Anyone saying otherwise is a fool, allowing a non-issue to distract us from the REAL issue at hand: Obama, whether born in Hawaii or not, is a FAILURE as President who must be replaced because of his bad policies.
So that's my take. Jindal would be best. You can agree or disagree. But regardless of who Romney chooses as his running mate, my vote is with Romney to defeat Obama. I hope you and I can agree on that!
The following is a guest editorial from the Gullydad:
Those who are following Washington, D.C. politics these days know about the so-called Congressional super-committee that has been tasked with the creation of an economic package that will begin to reverse the mounting national debt by some combination of spending reduction and/or revenue enhancement. In short, the twelve-person super-committee has been tasked to do what the larger 535 member Congress has not been able to do for many years. Failing to do that by Thanksgiving week will supposedly kick-in a mandatory 10% budget cut across all federal departments and agencies, regardless of any other factors including need, waste, fraud, abuse, stupidity, etc.
If the super-committee is unable to do the job (which has been an easy prediction for months), two things come to mind: 1) Congress can always change the rules and cancel or alter the mandatory budget cut, or 2) Congress can take the easy path (which it usually does) and let the mandatory cuts kick-in while blaming the opposition party for all the problems that causes. Remember that things are the way they are in this country because Congress wants it that way. If Congress didn’t want it that way, they’d fix it.
The easy path is the worst possible idea. Yes, it is easy to sit back and watch while every federal department across the full spectrum of executive, legislative and judicial offices takes a 10% budget cut. There’s got to be at least 10% waste and inefficiency in all of those offices, so the cuts are a good thing. Really? Is it possible that some rational thought might help to weed out some expenditures that should be cut by more or less than 10%? Isn’t that what our Congress is supposed to do with each budget they pass? Just as a for-instance, would it be wiser to cut a larger percentage from the Cowboy Poetry Contest or from the White House Tsars payroll than we cut from some of the more critical programs like Medicaid or defense?
This essay isn’t about politics! Today, the U.S. Navy has fewer ships than it had at the beginning of World War I. That’s right, World War I (1915). If you think we were unprepared for war when we were attacked at Pearl Harbor in 1941, we are less prepared today. Our Air Force has fewer airplanes now than the old Army Air Forces had at the beginning of World War II. We have not had a new military ship or airplane design in the past ten years. Look at your home computer and cell phone technology. Would you be satisfied with ten-year old technology in your own products? Ten year old technology is obsolete. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken a heavy toll of our Army and Marine Corps forces. Our reserve and National Guard forces have been abused and overused. And yet, there are politicians who would rather see the Department of Defense take the same cuts as everyone else rather than create a sensible, affordable budget.
And now for a bit of history: From this, take away one name in particular, Commander Thomas D. Davies, U.S. Navy. He is involved in two separate stories, both of which are mentioned briefly here, and both of which get into the budget process. Both stories are covered in great detail elsewhere. Get the full story by visiting the linked websites mentioned below.
Start with the Truculent Turtle. Never heard of it? The Truculent Turtle is the most famous Navy aircraft of all time. Can you name any other? Read about it at www.patron2.com/files/Turtle/turtleproj.html.
Back in 1946 after the close of World War II, the U.S. military was cut back to a peacetime force that was a shadow of what it had been only a year earlier. Government programs that had been ignored for the nearly four years of all-out war took their rightful priority while military budgets were reduced to less than pre-war levels. The Army Air Forces, which proved the value of land-based bombers and fighters during WWII, was still a division within the Army. Its leadership sought status as a separate, independent U.S. Air Force. Lessons learned during WWII were paving the way toward the creation of a unified Department of Defense in which land, sea and air warfare would be equally represented and budgeted as separate services under a Joint military command.
There were problems in creating a separate Air Force. The traditional roles and missions of the military that had previously been divided up among the Army and the Navy, had to be reviewed and redistributed among three services. For clarification, the Marine Corps was and still is a separate organization within the Department of the Navy, exclusively responsible for the mission of amphibious warfare. The proponents of a separate Air Force wanted that force to have responsibility for and control over all air operations. Naturally, the Navy objected to the idea of losing control of air operations related to their mission of sea control, and the Marine Corps could not tolerate loss of their own close-air-support for their amphibious operations.
At the close of WWII, the Army Air Forces had the fastest, highest flying and longest range bomber aircraft in the world… the B-29. In an obvious effort to build upon the roles and missions of a new U.S. Air Force, Army Air Forces generals and many Congressmen sought the takeover of the Navy’s maritime surveillance and reconnaissance mission by claiming that their B-29 was the most capable aircraft to do that job. To win support for their cause, the Army Air Forces began a series of record-breaking flights by the B-29 to demonstrate their long-range capabilities.
In early 1946, the Navy had no aircraft that could compete with the B-29’s long-range endurance. It did have one patrol aircraft, the Lockheed P2V, undergoing development under the direct supervision of Commander Thomas D. Davies in the Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics. Knowing that the Army Air Forces were gearing up for a battle over the Navy’s maritime mission, CDR Davies directed Lockheed to study ways in which the P2V could be enhanced to improve its long-range endurance. That study, nicknamed Operation Turtle, indicated that a highly modified P2V could fly about 12,000 miles without refueling. A B-29 had just flown a record-breaking flight of 7,500 miles from Guam to Washington, D.C.
At CDR Davies’ urging, the Navy requested approval by the new Secretary of the Navy, James Forrestal, for a P2V flight from Perth, Australia to Washington, D.C. as a test of the new aircraft’s over-water navigation and crew endurance capabilities. Coincidentally, the distance from Perth to Washington, D.C. is 12,000 miles. To make a very long story short, in 1946, CDR Davies and a crew of three other Navy pilots flew “The Truculent Turtle” from Perth, Australia to Columbus, Ohio… a distance of 11,236 miles in 55 hours and 17 minutes, shattering all existing endurance records and setting a record that would last for forty years. Only some unfavorable weather enroute kept them from making it all the way to Washington, D.C. That flight was enough to convince Congress that the Navy had the means to perform its mission of maritime surveillance, which remains a Navy mission today.
This is just an aside, but it does have some bearing on military funding. After the flight of the Truculent Turtle, CDR Davies was involved in another aviation feat. In 1948, the U.S. Air Force owned the only aircraft that was capable of delivering a nuclear weapon over great distances… again, the B-29. The Navy didn’t want the Air Force to be the only service with a long-range nuclear weapon capability (and the funding that went along with the mission). The Navy had a long-range carrier-based bomber in development, but it was a year away from production. To show that the Navy already had a long-range weapon delivery capability that was versatile enough to be land-based or sea-based (aircraft carrier), flight tests were performed to show that the P2V could be launched from a carrier deck (although it had to land on a runway). CDR Davies was the test pilot who flew the P2V from a carrier deck on numerous occasions, so that the Navy could retain a share in the long-range nuclear weapon delivery mission.
The rest of the story: In 1949, the Air Force developed a gigantic new bomber designed specifically to carry the massive nuclear weapons of the time. The B-36 had six piston-driven engines and could fly unprecedented distances without refueling. (Sustained usage of the B-36, however, showed that the plane was grossly underpowered. Additional jet engines were added to the wings of later B-36 models.) The nation’s first Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal, had previously been the Secretary of the Navy. He supported the purchase of B-36’s for the Air Force, but he also supported the carrier Navy and the purchase of the first modern aircraft carrier to be built since the close of WWII. Regrettably, Secretary Forrestal had a nervous breakdown and was replaced. President Truman named an old ally, Louis Johnson, to be the second Secretary of Defense. For a much better and more detailed account of this story, visit the Naval History Magazine website linked below:
In Louis Johnson’s first days in office, without consulting anyone in the Navy hierarchy, he abruptly cancelled the Navy’s new aircraft carrier (only five days after the ceremonial keel-laying). The billion dollars that was designated to pay for the carrier were transferred over to the B-36 program. This happened while the Secretary of the Navy, John Sullivan, was out of town, giving a speech in New Orleans. Sullivan was so outraged at the news of the carrier’s cancellation that he immediately resigned his office. Showing solidarity, his Deputy Secretary of the Navy, W. John Kenney, also resigned.
What followed has long been called “the revolt of the admirals.” There was great concern among the senior officers (and many junior officers) about the future of the Navy. Carriers had certainly proven their worth in WWII. In fact, aircraft carriers had replaced the battleships as the Navy’s primary weapon systems. But now the SECDEF had just ordered the Navy to reduce their carrier force down to a total of four… four carriers compared to more than one hundred carriers just a few years before!! SECDEF Johnson replaced John Sullivan as SECNAV with a loyal lawyer from Omaha, Francis P. Matthews, who knew nothing whatsoever about the military or the workings of the federal government. The Navy was left with no one in the Secretariat who could counter SECDEF Johnson's pro Air Force stance.
Certain naval aviators took note of the disparity in treatment between the Navy and the Air Force and sought ways to bring the arguments in favor of carrier aviation to the attention of Congress. Several highly ranking admirals testified before Congress in direct opposition to Secretary Johnson's testimony and against the testimony of their own SECNAV Matthews. The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and several other admirals lost their jobs for taking that risk. Two naval aviators secretly took up the challenge to gather information about the B-36 program, and within a week they produced a nine-page paper with 55 specific points that were germane to the B-36 procurement process. That paper became known as the "Anonymous Document" that could be used as a "point paper" in discussions or testimony in Congress.
Among other things, the Anonymous Document, which called the B-36 the "billion dollar blunder," pointed out that both W. Stuart Symington, the Secretary of the Air Force and Louis Johnson, the SECDEF, had personal financial interests in the B-36 production. Additionally, the Document questioned the need for a large fleet of B-36 bombers whose only mission would be to drop nuclear weapons on the enemy, including helpless civilians. It argued for a mix of bomber types to cover all the possible nuclear and conventional bombing scenarios that might be encountered in wartime. And there were multiple points made in the Document about the inferiority of the B-36 as a weapon system. We all know that the Air Force went ahead with the B-36 production and later regretted it when it became a logistical and a maintenance nightmare.
Okay, are you ready for this? The two naval aviators who created the "Anonymous Document," which found its way into Congressional offices and was used in Congressional testimony, were CDR Cedric R. Worth, Special Assistant to Under Secretary of the Navy Dan A. Kimball, and CDR Thomas D. Davies, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air. Got that?... CDR Thomas D. Davies was the pilot in command of the Truculent Turtle for its record-setting flight.
The Defense establishment including the U.S. Air Force soon realized their mistake (even if they wouldn't admit it publicly) of robbing the carrier Navy in favor of the B-36 procurement when war broke out in Korea. With no land bases from which to operate in the area, our carrier forces, albeit greatly reduced from what they had been during WWII, brought the air war to the enemy because the U.S. Air Force couldn't get there.
We say that if we don't learn the lessons of history, then we are doomed to repeat our mistakes. Prior to WWII, politicians in this country were downplaying the possibility of war or the need to prepare for war. “Why would the military ever want to go to war?” they asked. “War is not in our national interest,” they said. Everyone should understand that our country does not go to war because the military wants it. We go to war when the civilian leadership of our country makes the decision to go to war… usually as a last resort when negotiations fail or when we are attacked without notice. Those who were around in 1941 can remember the Pearl Harbor attack. Immediately afterward, thousands of men stormed their military recruiting offices to sign up for duty. Our military increased in size so rapidly that there were no weapons with which to train those going through boot camp. Men marched with brooms on their shoulders because there were no rifles. In the Vietnam War, bombers took off from carrier decks with half loads of bombs because we had let our supply of weapons fall below acceptable readiness standards.
Funding the military should be a steady-state function with built-in consistency. It takes years to develop a weapon system or to create a regiment of combat-ready troops. Yo-yo budgeting of the military is not a good idea. I don't feel the least bit qualified to argue about one weapon system vs. another. There is a system in place within the Pentagon for the services to iron out the overall priorities of the whole military based on the world situation. From there, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) set the priorities for procurement. One problem is that we cannot afford what the DOD thinks we need, and we can afford even less when the DOD budget is arbitrarily cut by 10% (or more). Adding to the problem is that some Congressmen can bastardize the system by buying weapon systems that are produced in their districts even when the DOD hasn't given those systems a high priority.
Technology is pricey. How can we afford bombers that cost nearly a billion dollars apiece? The B-2 bomber is so expensive we're afraid to use them for fear of losing one to the enemy or by accident. We have to fly the B-1's and B-2's halfway around the world to drop their bombs in the middle-east because we're afraid to base them closer. During WWII, we cranked out bombers almost as fast as our assembly-line technology created automobiles. Airplanes were so inexpensive in the 1940's that we could afford to manufacture them by the thousands. We sent more bombers on raids over Europe per day than we now have in our entire Air Force inventory. In fact, on some bad days we lost more bombers in raids over Germany than we have in our inventory today.
Bottom line: If the Department of Defense is forced to undergo a sizeable budget cut, why don’t we reduce some huge personnel costs by lowering the number of civilian “experts” in DOD, many of whom have been hired in the last three years, and many of whom draw salaries in excess of their military counterparts. Let’s not reduce the pointy end of the spear any more than we have to. Don’t sweat the petty stuff, and don’t pet the sweaty stuff. Keep an eye on Iran; watch China like a hawk.
- Gullydad, Captain, U.S. Navy (retired)