Friday, September 28, 2007

Hiding Behind the Color Green

Hiding Behind the Color Green
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
September 28, 2007

As a Republican city council candidate in Charm City during the last decade where GOP voter registrants numbered less than 10 percent, I made it my business to actively participate in debates.

There I sat, in Democrat-laden, hostile territory participating in events in church basements and school cafeterias – never once having any delusions of grandeur thinking I had the remotest shot at pulling off the miracle upset victory. The odds were even longer as a Jewish Republican where I joked that we held meetings in local telephone booths. After all, I was not the fabled 1969 New York Mets, lest I remind Baltimoreans of that fateful World Series.

But that’s politics and that’s the nature of the game – whether a city council candidate or a presidential candidate.

That said, with roughly 80 percent of the Jewish vote and about 90 percent of the black vote traditionally garnered by Democratic candidates, you don’t raise the white flag and hide behind “scheduling conflicts.” That weak and moronic excuse was given by GOP presidential candidates former mayor Rudy Giuliani (NY), Sen. John McCain (AZ), former Gov. Mitt Romney (MA) and former Sen. Fred Thompson (TN) for not appearing at the September 27 candidate forum at Morgan State University, one of the nation’s historic black colleges.

I knew about this event more than a month ago. No doubt the campaign schedulers for the aforementioned candidates knew and could have made the necessary arrangements to be in Baltimore. And if the schedulers were unaware, they should be replaced immediately. Each of the four AWOL candidates participated in fund-raising junkets. As anyone who breathes knows, dollars translate into candidate viability, but skipping the Morgan State debate could prove more costly.

Looking at the majority black audience, and from the applause, a fair number of whom were Republicans, they seemed rightfully insulted that the four frontrunners shunned them. Their absence was much akin to the ill-fated remarks made by James Baker to President George Herbert Walker Bush advising him not to worry about the Jewish vote because, “they don’t vote for us anyway.” (That’s the sanitized version.)

The hundreds of voters in attendance at Morgan State took the time to give the Republican presidential candidates a chance to earn their votes. They attended with open minds and deserved the apology offered by Sen. Sam Brownback (KS). “I apologize for the candidates who aren’t here. I think it’s a disgrace that they aren’t here.”

There are myriad reasons for those in attendance and black voters nationwide to consider supporting and voting for a GOP presidential candidate in 2008. With little exception the Republicans have been outspoken, certainly more outspoken than the Democrats, on the issue of illegal immigration – thanks to Rep. Tom Tancredo (CO). Tancredo pointed out that illegal immigrants drive down wages which has a greater effect on the employment figures for blacks, who have a higher percentage of unemployment when compared to whites.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee discussed the importance of working to improve housing opportunities in black and other minority communities. Black home ownership is below 50 percent while white home ownership is above 70 percent.

This is not a new Republican goal. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp called for enterprise zones and campaigned on the issue of increased home ownership and personal responsibility as GOP vice presidential candidate in 1996. Kemp went on record  advising candidates, “if we’re going to be competitive with people of color, we’ve got to ask them for their vote.” (Kudos also to Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA) and Rep. Ron Paul (TX) for their participation as well.)

The Democrats were just as guilty when all of their presidential candidates balked at participating in a FOX News Channel debate. After all, if they can’t stand up to Chris Wallace, how will they stand up to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

Hiding behind the fund-raising fa├žade is disingenuous. That the debate should be held near the end of the fiscal quarter is virtually meaningless to the average voter who wants the candidates to show their faces and be heard. Didn’t the five participating candidates face the same financial “deadline?”

It is embarrassing for the GOP to duck and dodge a minority audience as well as the black and Latino members of the media on hand to discern where the candidates stand on key issues. Where 44 percent of the candidates stood on September 27 was off campus hiding behind another color – green.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA. He ran for the Baltimore City Council in 1999 and the Alexandria, VA school board in 2006.

Monday, September 17, 2007

More Morantics Ushers in 5768

More Morantics Ushers in 5768
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
September 17, 2007

I can just hear President Ronald Reagan uttering, “well, there he goes again,” in response to yet another one of US Rep. James “Jim” Moran’s anti-Semitic rants. Yes, this time, I am calling what Moran has reached into the Protocols of the Elders of Zion for, anti-Semitic. This is classic anti-Semitic rhetoric about how the Jews control the government via wealth as well as the media. If that were true, I would have a column in the Washington Jewish Week and a daily radio program, but sadly the public does not have the pleasure of my thoughts on a regular basis.

Far too often Rep. Moran has been given a pass, even from within the Jewish community excusing his remarks as “heat of the moment,” and continuously accepting his apologies. Even now, during the Days of Awe it is hard to accept the latest apology that has yet to be issued, but is no doubt soon to come. For spewing such anti-Semitic invective, Moran should excuse himself from public office and finally resign. Even a champion of constituent services such as Moran, and admittedly this Republican recognizes that, has played his last hate card and must go.

With the spate of anti-Jewish violence in the Washington, DC metropolitan area in recent weeks and months, and continued terror attacks around the globe, to have an elected member of the Congress overtly speaking this way and then getting rewarded with reelection every two years is an abomination.

We, the voters of Virginia’s eighth Congressional District have a responsibility – Democrats and Republicans alike – to return to respectability by electing a candidate who will carry him or herself with dignity and not find him or herself the butt of political cartoonists.

By the way Congressman, L’ Shana Tova to your daughter and her family.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.

Friday, September 7, 2007

9/11, Six Years Later

“These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” —Thomas Paine

Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
September 07, 2007

I remember watching the Fox News Channel while I was getting dressed that morning in Sterling, VA getting ready to meet a deadline for the newspaper for which I worked. I remember the second tower being slammed into by terrorist hijackers, confounding and frightening a nation at large. I remember Lee Adler from my synagogue back home in Springfield, NJ. I remember my then future wife unable to reach family via telephone from her DC law office.

Thus the opening salvo to the current world war we are fighting. Unlike previous global conflicts, the United States is fighting an enemy of no national borders, no discernable uniform and no organized military forces – making this a more erratic war needing to be fought in an unconventional manner.

The United States is not in a declared war against Iraq. Iraq is, however, the current battlefield in this war on terror – a war that is being fought over civilization and freedom. Freedom to write this column, freedom to disagree with its content, freedom to worship as one wishes, freedom to not worship at all, freedom to send young girls to school, freedom to vote, or sadly, freedom to not vote.

With the under-the-radar-screen actions of Iran going unchallenged on the global stage, there is no doubt the next battlefield could be there. Being ever so vigilant is vital. Terrorists only need be accurate once, while troops and law enforcement need be accurate 100 percent of the time. The enemy is a patient one. They waited eight years to strike another blow at the World Trade Center from 1993 to 2001. As American citizens it is imperative to assist law enforcement as it ultimately benefits us all; and a demonstration of gratitude toward our brave men and women in the armed forces goes a long way.

While we cherish our freedom, it is certainly not free. Even our safety is not guaranteed. Sacrifice is necessary – be it on the battlefield by our troops or those of us at home who are simply asked to remove their shoes or headwear at an airport. We are fortunate to live in a country where it is not necessary to be surrounded by armed guards at our bus, train, metro and subway stations.

But also remember, for those who object to this war, for those who believe if the United States were not engaged in conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or any other place where our troops are stationed that our enemies would simply leave us alone, we did not have troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran or Saudi Arabia on September 11, 2001. Those who seek to destroy the United States, Israel, democracy, Western Civilization and freedom will stop at nothing to achieve their murderous and terrorist goals.

Lee Adler was among the nearly 3000 victims of foreign terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center. Who do you recall from that hellish day that did not make it home only to have their families repeat their own hellish nightmares six years later? Who do you remember that did not return home from the Pentagon or Flight 93 that crashed into a Pennsylvania field? Their deaths should not have been in vain. Their memories should be for inspiration.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer,  educator and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.