Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, January 5, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 15



 Mountain Views News Saturday, January 5, 2013 

GREG Welborn

HOWARD Hays As I See It


 We have to start the New Year with an honest assessment of the struggle 
that lies ahead. The budget “deal”, which allowed us to avoid the much-
hyped but insignificant fiscal cliff threat, did nothing but recommit this 
country to the continuing rancorous political battles we’ve witnessed for the 
last four years. 

 As much as President Obama would like to spin his election victory as 
a mandate, a slip shod high school freshman’s research efforts would show 
the ludicrousness of any such claim. First point of evidence would be the 
fact that the GOP House was also re-elected largely in the same proportion 
as the President was re-elected. Each lost a small amount of the support 
they earned in the previous political contest. As a nation, we just spent a 
vast amount of money and time to continue the status quo. Second point of evidence would be 
the fact that the Republicans (including the current leadership and our last presidential candidate) 
did nothing, and have continued to do nothing to explain that the major issue facing the country is 

 Romney was largely absent from this debate. He played it safe; he assumed everyone knew how 
bad the economy is, and he was wrong; as a result, we all lost. The Speaker of the House has the 
second largest bully pulpit in the nation, but he hasn’t used it. If he’s been on one talk show or held 
a meaningful press conference, I don’t remember it, and I can’t find a transcript of it either. Obama 
won the vote, but against opposition that didn’t even suit up. That’s not a mandate, even if he thinks 
it is.

 Unfortunately, President Obama’s belief that he received a mandate only reinforces his stubbornness 
in pursuit of his leftist vision for America. One might expect that after winning the debate with 
Boehner and getting the tax hikes he wanted, a smart politician would pivot a bit and return to 
the dialogue of “balance” and “bipartisanship” and take a serious look at the entitlement spending 
programs which will bankrupt this country. But that is not what President Obama has done. His 
last two speeches have focused on defending every penny of current fiscal spending, and the deal he 
struck with Boehner actually increases government spending further.

 What’s so striking about this is the fact that Boehner offered the President increases in revenue 
by cutting back hard on deductions and loopholes. That was supposed to be something a Democrat 
would embrace, but Obama said no. He insisted that the revenue had to come from tax hikes. Why 
he did this is the primary reason we’re going to see more bitter struggles in the years ahead.

 This ultimatum was designed specifically to weaken Republicans. This was not a fig leaf offer or 
bipartisanship. This was an attempt to cause divisions within the Republican Party, and it worked 
beautifully. When the Speaker took the first deal back to the Republican caucus, he was handed a 
decisive defeat. Even now, those wounds are bleeding.

 More importantly, though, Obama’s ultimatum was designed to alter the fiscal course of this 
nation. Ever since the Reagan revolution, the left has clamored to reverse the tax reductions and 
increase rates for no other reason than to punish the rich. This isn’t about economic growth; it’s 
about forcing economic equality and financing an ever increasing federal government.

 Reagan’s brilliance was in realizing that if tax rates were kept low, the federal government would 
be restricted from further encroaching on people’s lives. Higher tax rates are liberalisms only hope 
for enlarging the entitlement state. The fact that successful entrepreneurs will be punished is an 
end in itself. 

 Now, as they say, it takes two to tango, and despite the sleep-walking appearances of candidate 
Romney and Speaker Boehner, there is a serious contingent of conservatives in the Republican 
Party who aren’t going to sit back and watch the country careen off the deficit cliff. This was, and is, 
the real threat to our economy and our way of life.

 So here’s what’s going to happen. Conservatives will find their ground again and will rise to make 
the case for trimming spending. Someone or some group will rise to tell the nation that spending $1 
trillion per year more than is received in tax revenues is immoral and unsustainable. There is a limit 
to how much we can borrow, and it is generational thievery to spend now what must be paid for by 
the next generation. It is morally wrong! There can be no question about this, but the argument 
has to be made. Somewhere in the Republican Party are conservatives who will make this argument 
and take it to the people.

 This may actually happen sooner than later. Based on the terms of the budget deal, conservatives 
have 60 days to lay out an honest, healthy and sustainable vision for America’s future. They have 
60 days in which to make it concise and personal – to lay out exactly the consequences to each 
individual American if this spending is not brought under control.

 The solutions are actually simple in principle – they just take courage politically. Social Security 
needs to adjust the retirement age while Medicare needs to adjust its eligibility age, and both of them 
need to use a reasonable measure for cost-of-living adjustments. Spending needs to be reduced 
because spending is the problem. Again, a high school freshman could find out with a simple 
google search that government revenues are larger now than they were in 2008 and will be larger 
still in 2013. This isn’t a revenue (ie: tax) problem. This is a spending problem. If debt continues to 
rise, the interest payments on that debt will consume the entire budget in a very short while. This is 
all the more certain if interest rates rise. These are not difficult concepts. But someone has to point 
them out.

 So, why do I see more struggles in our future? Because the President has no intention of seeking 
compromise and wants to expand government spending as one of his primary goals. Conservatives 
won’t stand by and watch the destruction of the strongest economy the world has ever produced. 
The battle between these two principles will continue. Eventually, the people will join the fray. It 
probably won’t happen until there is a serious and devastating economic crisis, but it will happen. 
It’s just a matter of time.

About the author: Gregory J. Welborn is a freelance writer and has spoken to several civic and 
religious organizations on cultural and moral issues. He lives in the Pasadena area with his wife and 
3 children and is active in the community. He can be reached at

“A little less complaint and whining, and a little more dogged work and manly striving, 
would do us more credit than a thousand civil rights bills.”

- W.E.B. DuBois

 There seems to be three branches to my party: “progressive Democrats”, formerly 
known as “Democrats”; “moderate Democrats”, formerly known as “Republicans”; 
and “whining Democrats” who, as far as I can recall, have always been known as 

 There were somewhat the same categories in 1968, but positioned considerably 
to the left. The “moderate” running for president that year was Vice President 
Hubert Humphrey; the “progressive” was Sen. George McGovern (D-SC), and the 
“whiner” turned out to be Sen. Eugene McCarthy (D-MN). Sens. McGovern and McCarthy shared 
anti-Vietnam War views, but what placed McCarthy in the “whiner” wing was his refusal, unlike Sen. 
McGovern, to support his party’s nominee, Vice President Humphrey, against Republican Richard 

 Sen. McCarthy’s influencing supporters to sit out the general election contributed to a close Nixon 
victory, decided by less than 500,000 votes nation-wide. The decision of this anti-war candidate to 
withhold support from the nominee deemed insufficiently anti-war led to the victory of a candidate 
whose administration saw the war’s expansion into Laos and Cambodia, hundreds of thousands 
additional casualties in Southeast Asia, and the number of Americans killed in action doubling to 
nearly 60,000.

 Twelve years later, it was Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) who moved to the “whiner” wing. President 
Jimmy Carter was engaged in efforts to bring our hostages home from Iran, and an uphill battle to 
convince congress and the nation of the urgency of pursuing energy independence; of the threat 
posed not only to our economy, but to our national security, of reliance upon foreign oil - especially 
oil from the Middle East.

 Sen. Kennedy was engaged in waiting out the lingering taint of the 1969 Chappaquiddick scandal 
for an opportune time to run for president. 1972 and 1976 were deemed to be too soon, but his run 
in 1980 necessitated whining about the sitting incumbent from his own party – Jimmy Carter. The 
1980 Democratic National Convention is remembered primarily for Sen. Kennedy’s avoidance of the 
traditional unity pose with party nominee Carter as the ceremonies came to a close.

 In a 2010 interview, Jimmy Carter blamed Ted Kennedy for our country’s not having had a 
comprehensive healthcare plan already in place for the past thirty years. Although Kennedy publicly 
objected to the plan offered under the Carter Administration for its phased-in approach, Carter 
suggests the real reason Kennedy blocked its passage was out of pique it was Carter’s, not Kennedy’s 
own, plan being given serious consideration.

 Comprehensive healthcare legislation was finally passed under President Obama, during one of 
the most successful first terms in modern presidential history. In addition to the Affordable Care 
Act, there was the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and the American Recovery and 
Reinvestment Act which helped bring our country out of its worst economic crisis since the Great 

 All three historic bills, in fact, were signed into law in the first half of President Obama’s first term 
– prior to the 2010 mid-term elections. I’m sure the president considered the effect the whiner wing 
of his party might have on those mid-terms, and assessed the likelihood of passage were he to wait 
until after the swearing-in of a new Congress.

 Sure enough, as November 2010 drew near, the whining grew louder about there still being 
prisoners housed at Guantanamo, the president not having pushed hard enough for a single-payer 
healthcare plan, that we still had troops in Afghanistan and that nobody behind the 2008 Wall Street 
meltdown was doing time at the Graybar Hotel. The whiner wing of the Democratic Party did that 
year what they’ve historically done on Election Day - they stayed home.

 As a result, for the next two years we were subjected to the lunacy of the tea-baggers. San Diego’s new 
mayor Bob Filner cited them recently as a reason he left Washington after twenty years in Congress; 
“They had no respect, as it were, for government per se.” He noted the futility of attempting serious 
discussion with those who, for starters, reject science; who insist global warming is a hoax, the moon 
landing took place on a Hollywood soundstage, and that biblical creation needs to be taught at public 
schools. They gamed with the full faith and credit of the United States; their refusal to pay bills from 
the Bush years led to the first-ever downgrade of our nation’s credit rating.

 I don’t like ragging on my ideological brethren, but I was bothered by comments heard from 
respected politicos, pundits and partisans regarding the recent “fiscal cliff” agreement. The whining 
involved the president having “caved” in, allowing permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts for 
family incomes up to $450,000 ($400,000 for individuals), rather than sticking with the line-in-the-
sand figure of $250,000 ($200,000 for individuals). The argument is that he should have stuck to his 
guns and let taxes rise for everybody because, according to recent polling, Republicans would have 
gotten the blame for it.

 Such arguments are fun to make in newspaper columns and talking-head TV shows, but they 
ignore the reality that outcomes such as extending a misbegotten war, delaying by decades universal 
healthcare, government by tea-baggers and raising taxes on middle-class families have real-life 
consequences for real-life Americans.

 They also ignore President Obama’s proven ability to accurately evaluate the next half-dozen moves 
on the chessboard while everyone else is still focused on having lost that last pawn.

 As it is, issues of funding sequestration and the debt ceiling will be dealt with by a new Congress 
with a strengthened Democratic majority in the Senate and a shrunken, dysfunctional Republican 
majority in the House. A USA Today poll shows Barack Obama is the most admired man in America, 
and it looks like House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is about to be dumped by his own party.

 So stop your whining.

JOE GANDELMAN Independent’s Eye


Here are my predictions for 2013: 

1. Efforts by moderates or traditional conservatives to improve the Republican 
Party’s outreach and branding will suffer due to the continued clout 
of the Tea Party, far-right House Republicans and talk show hosts who will 
make sure the party appeals mostly to its existing choir. A politically damaging 
GOP internal war will heat up.

2. Democrats often blow it when they regain chunks of power by infighting, 
overreaching, or not using their power. The Dems will be more careful this 
time, but probably can’t help themselves.

3. Despite being already under fire for “caving” (the 21st century partisans’ word for America’s centuries-
old, respected, tradition of political compromise) on the fiscal cliff, a tougher second-term 
Obama will use his political capitol to battle Republicans’ opposition to his positions on immigration 
reform, gun control and the debt ceiling. A form of immigration reform will pass. 

4. Politicos to watch: Republicans Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, and Jeb Bush. Democrats Hillary 
Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden. 

5. Republicans have binders full of reasons to put Romney, his organization and political-malpractice 
campaign totally behind them -- and they most assuredly will. 

6. A slow economic recovery will continue with setbacks along the way. 

7. The Today Show will continue to lag behind Good Morning America. The public points the finger 
of blame for Ann Curry’s humiliating firing on mega-salaried Matt Lauer, who has a mega-image 
problem. The New York Daily News reports that NBC wants Lauer and Curry “to literally break 
bread to help shift the public perception of Lauer back to what it once was.” But any P.R. type will tell 
you: it ain’t gonna happen. Lauer’s image and the Today’s Show’s ratings are cooked. 

 8. Watch for CNN to get a ratings boost under new boss Jeff Zucker. MSNBC will continue to rise. 
Fox News will still lead, but Sean Hannity -- who took a huge hit in his post-election ratings by enabling 
partisan hackery about how Obama was going to lose and suggestions that polls were wrong 
-- will never regain his numbers. More realistic partisans will help Fox News remain what it is: a 
communications center for Republican perspectives and a dissemination hub for GOP talking points.

9. Karl Rove will remain a major pundit force due to Wall Street Journal columns and resumed talking 
head appearances on Fox News. But in the overall media he’ll be seriously damaged goods: an 
over-hyped political “genius” who on election night 2012 seemed to be channeling Dick Morris. 

10. The NRA will continue to prevent substantive gun regulation, barring some new mass murder 
more shocking than the butchering of virtual babies and their educators at Sandy Hook Elementary 
School. If something worse happens, look for the banning or tight control of assault weapons. Despite 
Rupert Murdoch’s support of gun control, the public will perceive Republicans as working with the 
NRA to check-mate meaningful gun law regulation – and it’ll cost the GOP some votes.

11. Breaking Bad will continue to be television’s best show. Its final episodes will be shockers. At least 
one major character will suddenly die, Walter won’t enjoy a happy future, and the ending won’t be 
ambiguous like The Sopranos’. In coming years, the program will be hailed as one of the finest, most 
intricately layered pieces of writing, directing and acting that has ever appeared on the tube. 

12. The country’s best pizza will still be Pepe’s Pizza in New Haven, Conn.

Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist who wrote for newspapers overseas and in the United States. 
He has appeared on cable news show political panels and is Editor-in-Chief of The Moderate Voice, an 
Internet hub for independents, centrists and moderates. CNN's John Avlon named him as one of the top 
25 Centrists Columnists and Commentators. He can be reached at 
and can be booked to speak at your event at