Saturday, February 28, 2009


Although I have no particular expertise or knowledge about Afghanistan, I do have a suggestion for our new strategy. It seems that indefinite occupation never works in this country and that a democratic central government is an elusive goal. So lets save lives and money by reducing our goal to containing or eliminating Al Qaeda.

Even if the Taliban returns to power there, we may have to limit ourselves to trying to ameliorate its excesses rather than continue a fruitless occupation.

I gather that Afghanistan has a lot of regional chiefs or warlords. It is also a violent and somewhat lawless country. I suggest that in large part we limit our efforts to reconstruction and related security. As for Al Qaeda, let's make deals, or use bribes, to get these warlords, or the local mafia, to assassinate or otherwise dispose of enough of them, there or in Pakistan, render them ineffective as a terrorist group.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Professor Obama

At the close of his bipartisan fiscal conference, President Obama held an unprecedented wrap-up
meeting with all of the attendees. Staged in a press conference format, the President offered his closing remarks and then proceeded to call upon a number of the Senators, starting with John McCain, and others present to express their thoughts on the topics covered.

Throughout, Mr.Obama, in good humor, acted as a combination of a college professor, conducting a class, and a high-powered CEO presiding over an important meeting. At all times, in tone and in substance, he was completely in charge and did himself and his country proud.

Monday, February 23, 2009


There are many calls for the resignation of Roland Burris, the Illinois Senator appointed by Governor Rod Blagojevich, after his arrest but before his impeachment.

But such a resignation is doubtful. Remember how persistent Burris was when practically everyone opposed his taking the seat in the Senate? He persisted and no one could find a legal way to stop him. So now the Democrats sorely need his vote in the coming months and would do well to keep him there until the 2010 election, which he will probably either skip or lose in the primary.

A new appointment now by the current Illinois Governor would be problematic. I won't comment on opinions that the next Senator there should be black, since when it comes to discussing race I am a coward.


President Obama, ever sensitive to the needs and wishes of the media and their audiences, has taken steps to avoid political boredom and inject some drama into his administration. It started with the sudden withdrawal of Bill Richardson as candidate for Secretary of Commerce. A pay-for-play problem. Then came Tim Geithner, who became Treasury Secretary despite failure to pay some income taxes when due. Meanwhile, the President was having cocktail and Super Bowl parties and otherwise courting Republicans to support a huge, controversial stimulus bill.

Further drama ensued when former Majority Leader Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination for health secretary because of tax problems involving a limousine lifestyle. Then came the latest surprise when Judd Gregg, a prominent Republican, withdrew his nomination as secretary of Commerce, upsetting the Team of Rivals nature of the Obama cabinet.

The Gregg withdrawal was sudden and surprising. Mr. Gregg apparently just realized that his views were in conlict with those of the administration. What was it about the Democratic platform and Obama's speeches did he not understand? It seems that, as in Casablanca, he was "shocked, shocked" that there were Democratic policies going on in the White House.