Tuesday, November 11, 2008

TRANSITION TIDBITS: Both sides’ hard-liners spew nonsense political talk

During the now-complete presidential campaign season, I lost count of the number of times that Republican partisans tried to link President-elect Barack Obama to leaders of foreign countries with interests hostile to those of the United States.

They took the fact that Obama said during a debate in Austin, Texas, that he’d be willing to meet with Cuba’s leadership in hopes of achieving a normalization of relations as evidence that he was naïve and would be duped by those foreign leaders.

EVENTUALLY, IT BECAME an “unholy trio” of leaders who allegedly would sucker a President Obama – Raul Castro of Cuba, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and the topper of the bunch, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran.

But now, the tables appear to be turned. It seems that the hard-liners of Iran are fearful that their president is falling for Obamamania and could wind up getting suckered into some agreement by “the Great Satan” otherwise known as the United States of America.

Specifically, leaders of the parliament in Iran are upset that Ahmadinejad sent a letter last week to Obama, congratulating him on his electoral victory and urging him to be a “good president,” without specifying what constitutes “good.”

It turns out that no Iranian leader has made such a goodwill gesture to a U.S. leader literally since the days of the Shah back in the 1970s. The hard-liners of the Iranian government aren’t sure what to make of such a gesture, similar to how the hard-liners of the U.S. government want to somehow believe that trying to establish contact with foreign leaders is a suspicious concept in and of itself.

NOW I’M NOT trying to defend Ahmadinejad or his record in office. There definitely is reason for the two countries to remain suspicious of each other.

But this affair ought to be used as evidence of how ridiculous campaign rhetoric can be. Every single person (http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/11/10/Iranian_parliament_to_probe_Obama_letter/UPI-97261226335088/) who was spewing this line of “logic” was also touting the idea that Obama was a socialist. Is it possible that both arguments are ridiculous?

Besides, the recent history of both the United States and Iran contains incidents that make the other distrustful – “they” seized control of “our” embassy and took embassy employees hostage for nearly a year-and-a-half, while “we” threw our support behind Saddam Hussein when he decided to wage war against Iran.

What else is notable about the events of recent days as this country tries to prepare itself for a City Hall takeover of the District of Columbia?

PRIVATE SCHOOL FOLLIES: I’m waiting to see how long it takes for some conservative pundit to turn the Obamas’ choice of education for their two daughters into a reason to bash him.

While most of the attention at the White House was paid Monday to the president-elect meeting with President George Bush, what caught my attention was that he got to come back to Chicago Monday night while future first lady Michelle Obama (a.k.a., Renaissance) remained in the District of Columbia.

She plans to spend some time Tuesday touring schools to figure out just where Malia and Sasha will transfer to when the family Obama moves to Washington in January.

What makes it a conservative issue is the fact that she planned to look at private schools (just like every other presidential kid in recent years). How long until we hear that the Obamas are liberal hypocrites for not putting their kids in public schools? Just because the campaign’s over does not mean the trash talk ends. It is the responsibility of every person in this country to see such silliness for what it really is – and then ignore it.

SHE’S AT IT AGAIN: With Rahm Emanuel becoming the White House chief of staff, that creates an opening in the Illinois congressional delegation. And unlike the U.S. Senate vacancy to be filled by Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the House seat from Chicago’s Northwest Side will be filled by special election.

Various reports have as many as 10 people with delusions that they can move up to Congress – including the daughter of Alderman Dick Mell (and sister-in-law of the governor) who has yet to serve one day in the Illinois House seat she won in last week’s elections.

The name that caught my attention was that of Nancy Kaszak, a former state legislator and attorney for the Chicago Park District. She twice has run for the congressional seat – only to lose to Rod Blagojevich in 1996 and Emanuel in 2002.

I still remember how Kaszak’s ’02 campaign became the darling of the “good government” types who were disgusted that a political player like Emanuel would represent them. Could this year be THE YEAR that she finally gets to be the female equivalent of Mr. Smith?

WHAT DO SANTA CLAUS AND JOE BIDEN HAVE IN COMMON?: Philadelphia sports fans don’t like either one of them.

The incoming vice president from Delaware was at the Philadelphia Eagles/New York Giants game on Sunday, and when a video screen in the stadium showed Joe Biden among the crowd, the fans boo-ed. This (http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/11/10/biden-booed-at-eagles-giants-game/) despite the fact that the Obama/Biden ticket took Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes with strong support in Philadelphia.

Some observers noted that GOP VP dreamer Sarah Palin got similar treatment when she appeared at a Philadelphia Flyers hockey game during the campaign. But this is literally the city that once boo-ed (and threw snowballs at) a Santa Claus figure that rode his “sleigh” across the field in mid-game.


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