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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, address at the Sorbonne, Paris, France, April 23, 1910

First, it was Condi.

A brilliant academic, at the center of foreign policy for the last seven years. Intimately acquainted with the problems of the Islamic wars. The first black woman to serve as Secretary of State. Intelligent, cool, thoughtful. Yes, she says she has no interest in running, but if we press her hard enough....until we realized it would never happen, that she meant what she said.

Then, it was Newt.

Another college professor, a prolific author of Civil War books and the author of the Contract with America, the former Speaker of the House is the quintessential brilliant NeoCon. He's said he would enter the race if a real conservative doesn't emerge....although we haven't heard from him lately; still if we just hold out......until we realized he couldn't be elected dogcatcher with his personal baggage.

Now, it's Fred.

With a Jubilation T. Cornpone accent, he's put away bad guys on Law & Order since Adam Schiff left. We don't know much about his Senate accomplishments - which are sort of...well...scant - other than his being one of the few Senators involved in the passage of McCain-Finegold. We don't know much about where he stands on issues. We don't know much about him personally, other than his being really tall, although his non-Hodgkins Lymphoma will be sure to surface shortly. But it's rumored that he's thinking about anouncing on the Fourth of July, if he can raise enough money, and we can just hold out....

It's so easy to project a dream image onto these elusive quasi-candidates. When faced with the candidates already working in the field, you realize that you don't entirely agree with any of them. You have to settle for somebody that you agree wtih only 80% of the time - while this floating dream candidate agrees with you about EVERYTHING! You just KNOW it!

In this unusual election cycle - the first in 80 years with' no presumptive nominee from either major party - the buzz on the GOP side has been about "Who is the New Ronald Reagan"? It's hard to remember that in 1980, Reagan wasn't Reagan. That Bush fellow poked fun at his 'voo-doo economics', and Republican John Anderson felt so strongly that this elderly actor was such a bad choice that he ran a third-pary campaign against him. He pulled the Equal Rights Amendment out of the GOP platform to placate Phyllis Schlafley, and infuriated the GOP women led by First Lady Betty Ford. He was uninformed about foreign affairs, and parochial about social issues. Ron Reagan was, in fact, the 80% candidate.

It's time for the GOP to stop trying to fall in love, and choose a leader.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day- In The Way Life Should Be

Porcupine is spending Memorial Day Weekend far from Cape Cod, as is his wont, in the tiny town in mid-coast Maine where he has his weekend summer retreat, better known as The Hut. However, this is a big year, as it is the town's Bicentennial, which will have events all summer long. We've already had the chicken roast, where the firemen spray enormous banks of charcoal grilling chicken with Italian dressing in Miracle-Gro sprayers, and the big Strawberry Sale. but, how does a town celebrate Memorial Day in its Bicentenial Year?

By dedicating a new Veterans Memorial for the town.

The program began at the new flagpole, with a new flag that had been flown over Basra in Iraq, which was presented by the local Maine National Guard. The Boy Scouts were able to manage the halyard properly, and the crowd sang the National Anthem. Please note the attire of the lady standing directly in front of Porcupine. While Porcupine has such a headscreen, he generally reserves it for gardening, and does not wear it for public appearances. However, he is bound to admit that she is the only person not to have her face bitten by midges and black flies (the mosquitos will come later), and the camoflage top makes a nice, soldierly touch.

The Colonel of the National Guard gave the speech, in which he noted that it has become the norm to call Memorial Day a day to honor all the dead, but he asks us to remember that it was created for, and is intended for, military members who made the ultimate sacrifice. The memorial is very much a community affair - a local mason is building the rock wall behind the memorial (he was delayed by last month's heavy rains, so it isn't quite finished), the local tombstone company engraved the black marble monument, and the local garden club did the landscaping while a local builder did the excavating. Everyone pitched in, so eveyone was a part. Porcupine's sibling asked if it was necessary to sing all four verses of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, along with God Bless America - but Porcupine asked, in how many places would audiences of 75 or so be counted upon to know all the words?

Later, as Porcupine planted small blue flowers on the graves of his grandparents and great-grandparents - so far from the country of their birth, but resting so comfortably in the land of their choosing - he notices that the annual allotment of American flags had been placed in the holders of all the tombstones of those who were veterans - even next the the small white marble stone, washed clean by time and snows, for a Revolutionary War veteran.

So honor the military members now at rest - Porcupine will re-read his favorite poetry -HERE - which is called war poetry, but which captures the grit, pain, honor and heroism, and makes us all long for a world in which such sacrifice need never be made again, but recognizes that until such a world is here, we owe our deepest gratitude to the men and women who died to keep us safe.

Indeed, there is a reason the Maine State Motto is- The Way Life Should Be. Please enjoy a happy and safe Memorial Day.

(Porcupine regrets the problems with editing that prevented this post from being displayed when it was first posted, and hopes it will be enjoyed anyway)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Public Service Over, But Before We Return To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming....

A hat tip is due here to Political Realm, an excellent synopsis of politics which Porcupine enjoys frequenting, for the funniest story Porcupine has read in a long time -

Compliments to Pug Bus, which also carried a story on Christopher Hitchen's challange to God to show up and 'debate him like a man' on May 22nd.
Now, back to business....

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Public Service Announcement

Are you sometimes ill at ease - even in Massachusetts - with the liberal tone of political discourse? Porcupine and the WideAwakes are ready to help with the sale of Liberal Offset Certificates.

From the description by Kender on EBay -

Yes that's right, you can still say that the War in Iraq is wrong and as long as you have bought a sufficient amount of offsets your patriotism cannot be questioned. Walk around freely yelling "Bush lied - people died" and if you are confronted by a conservative, whip out your Liberal Offset Certificate and put them in their place. In fact you can spout almost any nonsense you want and as long as you have bought a Liberal Offset, nobody can say a thing.

Here's how it works. When you hold liberal beliefs many people believe you are simply insane, and Liberal Offsets counter that simply by taking the money you have paid for the Offset and...well, much like Carbon Credits nobody is really sure how paying some Voluntary Guilt Tax is supposed to offset the pollution you create, but believe us it does. Just ask Al Gore.

Liberal Offsets work the same way.

When you buy a Liberal Offset that allows you to spout insane viewpoints Justin from Right ON The Right, Kender from Wide Awakes Radio and, indeed the ENTIRE Wide Awakes Radio crew will continue to hold view points that are based in logic and argue from a position of Common Sense and Patriotism.

It is that simple.

Now you can hold positions that directly contradict each other and not have to explain the disparity between them.

Each Liberal Offset Certificate comes personalized with the name of your choice. For a limited time each Liberal Offset you buy will have 4 FREE Offsets added to each order, for a Grand Total of 5 Liberal Offsets for the amazing low price of $5.00 plus shipping. That is 125 hours of argument for each certificate. That should be enough to last until the 2008 Presidential election. Handling Charges are included in shipping.
Porcupine, Right on the Right, GM Roper, Mr. Ogre of the Carolinas and the other Wide Awakes will continue to pump rational argument into the hyperbaric chamber of liberal thought, in order to keep balance and rationality alive. For instance, Porcupine will even provide cogent arguments agaisnt the banning of dihydrogen monoxide, and other such substances.

A link to obtain your certificate is
HERE - Kender will help keep the progressive movement from spining off any number of cliffs with this handy trade-off.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Another Opening of Another Show!

Well, the second ten man debate is over, and in Porcupine's opinion, it should be the last.

Porcupine held a very modest gathering, and was able to distribute 'Mitt Swag' - bumper stickers, balloons, cards. One person plans to donate enough to acquire - a Mitt Bobblehead. Admit it, even Porcupine couldn't make that up!

There will be endless analysis, so Porcupine will just give a brief synopsis of overall impression, as contrary to popular belief, Porcupine does have to sleep sometime.

How did the debate go overall? For all the sneering at 'Faux News', they know how to throw a debate. Brit Hume would introduce an umbrella issue, and each candidate - out of order - would be asked a different question pertaining to the overall premise. When there are so many, it gave each a chance to get in an original thought or line, and gave a real feeling for who the candidate was and what they stood for. So, no sniveling. In such a crowded field, each candidate did have a chance to get their story across, and it's time to cut bait.

Who needs to go home (right now)? The Wooden Mr. Thompson, who could not name the departments in the agency he had oversight of; the Unususal Mr. Paul, with his contention that the US deserved 9/11 like a woman in a bar with a low-cut blouse deserves to be raped; the Uninspiring Mr. Gilmore, who has no clear idea why he is running except he is consistent; and the Abrasive Mr. Hunter, general contractor of the Rio Grande Fencing Company.

Who needs to drop back (next year)? The Peripatetic Mr. Tancredo, of Illegals-R-Not-Us; the Scary Mr. Brownback, who is not in Kansas any more; and the Affable Mr. Huckabee who got off the best line of the night (sorry, Sen. McCain, no credit for used lines) when he said that 'Congress spends money like John Edwards in a Beauty Salon'. Porcupine has long been convinced that Huckabee will be the Vice Presidential nomineee, after hearing him speak at length at a Key Club dinner in Boston two years ago.

Who will be the final match-up? well, not to put too fine a point on it, Rudy McRomney. There is a reason these three rose to prominence so early - their superior intelligence and articulate style. Porcupine is an unabashed Romney fan, and remains convinced he will be the nominee.

Meanwhile, kudos to Brit Hume, Chris Wallace and Wendell Goler, who suceeded in running a debate which shed as much light as heat.

Now, on to the Princess Theatre in Pocatella, Idaho!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens!

Did he think nobody would notice? That nobody would tell, because after all, we're all Democrats?

Upon the adjournment of the Constitutional Convention, which will reconvene on June 14th, Porcupine expected pressure to by put on pro-amendment legislators in the more traditional way - with the clout of the Senate budget, due for release on May 16. Perhaps some amendments might find favor during that debate. That would be a big - Move along, nothing to see here.

Instead Gov. Patrick chose to involve himself again in the Constitutional Convention in which he plays no role - for the second time. You may remember, before he was sworn in, he was making telephone calls to legislators, helpfully suggesting that they vote for adjournment and no action. When he was 'made aware' of the SJC ruling prohibiting that conduct, he said he had been out of town when the ruling came down - an odd disclaimer for an attorney, but it was still early days.

Porcupine can almost hear the high, whispery voice of the governor as he made his pitch to vote against allowing people to have a direct vote on the Gay Marriage Amendment. "I know this is a tough vote for you. I know that your district is almost 75% in favor of having a vote. It's a really difficult thing, to have the constituents tell you how to vote when you know it's wrong. You know, I just demanded new applications from about fifty Republicans still working in the state agencies, so they can reapply for their jobs. If your constituents can't forgive you for doing the right thing, maybe I could facilitate something there..."

When the Boston Herald broke the Jobs for Votes story (
HERE and HERE) and Gov. Patrick was asked if he offered any job for a change in vote, the answer was an uncharacteristically brusque, "No." No other statement, except through intermediaries. What Porcupine was listening for, and did not hear, was an assertion that the story was baseless, that no such conversation took place. Gov. Patrick has at least learned from his Ameriquest debacle that saying that the conversation was misinterpreted is worse than useless.

The incident speaks to one of two scenarios - that the Governor has an incredibly high dedication to preserving gay marriage in the commonwealth, to the point of bribery, OR that the Governor is so despised by the Legislature that credible sources there are willng to besmirch his name with a major newspaper in order to discredit him.

Either way, the myth of the Democrat Party Monolith lies shattered on the ground - amid the chickens that are coming home to roost.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Gathering in the Alternative Universe

Porcupine has sepnt a great deal of time out and about in the last couple of weeks, and wants to share some Massachusetts Republican events, which he has titled for the last two years 'Adventures in the Alternative Universe', due to scepticism that such events exist.

One such event is the Fifteenth Anniversary Convention of the Association of Massachusetts Republican Town and Ward Committees, called the
AMRC. Ably chaired by Dick Hersum, this year was especialy well attended in Waltham by about 100 attendees from around the state.

The opening night dinner had a main speaker, Charlie Baker, President and CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. While Charlie gave a good dinner speech on Republican principles, the big hit of the evening was an unannounced speaker, Col. Jim Ogonowski, seen here with Chip Faulkner of Citizens for Limited Taxation. The candidate for the Fifth Congressional District seat has a web site up HERE. He gave a brief, unpolished and entirely sincere speech. His campaign style reminded Porcupine of two other successful non-politicians - Reed Hillman and Sheriff Jim Cummings, both of the State Police. While neither began as a polished campaigner, the electorate responded to their obvious honesty and intelligence, and Porcupine thinks that lightning might strike a thir time with Col. Ogonowski. Especially if he gets Fred Smerlas' backing!

The following morning began with breakfast, and a man with a radio show and a stack of books, bumper stickers, and magnets in the hotel lobby. Howie, he said his name was. However, Porucpine already had a copy of The Brothers Bulger, and instead opted to get a copy of On the Hunt by Col. David Hunt, pictured here with Party Chairman Peter Torkildson. While 8:00 am may seem a little early in the day to hear the Carr and Colonel Cross Talk act, they were amusing, pointed and much appreciated.

There were workshops throughout the day. Porcupine chose the erudite and efficiently non-partisan Michael Sulivan of the Office of Campaign and Poltical finance over Chairman Torkildson on Party building.

After lunch came a panel discussion by Barbara Anderson, Guardian Angel and Executive Director of Citizens for Limited Taxation, Charles Arlinghaus, President of the Josiah Bartlett Center For Public Policy in Concord, NH; David Tuerck, the Executive Director of the Beacon Hill Institute, and Jessica Vaughan, Senior Policy Analyst, Center For Immigration Studies, Washington, DC. the recommendations of the panel were that the economic costs of illegal immigration in the work market and taxation policy were the prime issues for the GOP in this next election cycle.

After the Panel Discussion, Porcupine chose to attend a workshop called "New Media – Internet, Web Sites, Blogs" by Mark Antonelli, of the AMRC Board while loaning his computer to Ladd Moore for a neighboring workshop on the Voter Vault GOP database program. Porcupine can always use a few extra tips, and the afternoon attendance of more than fifty GOP activists proved that the Mass. GOP is finally coming to proper grips with the tools offered in the Blogosphere.

As the Conference ended, Porcupine reflected on how pleaent it was to spend a weekend with more the 100 Republican thinkers in the undiscovered Alternative Universe.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Bulletin from the Alternative Universe

"As for the one Mormon running for office, those who really believe in God will defeat him anyways, so don't worry about that; that's a temporary situation."
Rev. Al Sharpton during a debate at the New York Public Library.

First, my apologies for my unplanned hiatus. My lack of posting was not due to a dearth of happenings, but rather too many, and I will share them with you as my accounts of my migrations in the Alternative Universe of Massachusetts Politics unfolds.

But first, I wanted to comment upon a television appearance which may someday be remembered with that of another Massachusetts Presidential candidate. Here's Gov. Mitt Romney on the Tonight show with Jay Leno:

Now, while Mitt Romney MAY be another Jack Kennedy, Jay Leno is no Jack Paar. But as somebody who actually saw both Tonight Show interviews, some parallels are striking.

Kennedy and Romney - before their interviews - were known, but not well known. Both were considered curiosities because of their religious beliefs, and both had voters wonder if one of 'them' could be trusted in the White House.

Both approached the purposely unacknowledged problem in the same spirit. They used humor, openness and honesty to connect with viewers - and voters. I admit, this Romney is the person Porcupine came to be acquainted with, a person of sincerity, candor and sly humour. Like Jack Kennedy, Romney exudes charisma and intelligence, and both make voters want to give them a fair shot, and feel better about themselves for doing so.

It's interesting that Romney experienced a meteoric rise in opinion polls taken right after the Hardball Miss America Pagent (with Chris Matthers as Bert Parks), the botched Republican Debate. Yes, omney did get off a few good lines, but the pallid viewing audience doesn't account for the immediate contrast. On the other hand, the Tonight Show is seen by millions, and Porcupine has a feeling that more people CoMITTed to him there.

It's a pity he can't play piano like Dick Nixon, too.

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