Friday, December 26, 2008

Birthday Cake Creates Furor

Birthday Cake Creates Furor
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
December 26, 2008

At what point do the lines between censorship, free speech and the concept of the customer is always right get blurred? That question was put to the test about a week before Christmas of all times.

Heath and Deborah Campbell, residents of Hunterdon County in south Jersey, were thwarted in their attempts to procure a decorated birthday cake for their three-year-old son from a ShopRite Supermarket in Greenwich, NJ. Apparently this is the third year in a row that the supermarket rejected the request.

The furor stems from the fact that the boy’s name is Adolf Hitler Campbell. At least this year the request for the named cake was toned down to not include the swastika the Campbells asked for in previous years. "We reserve the right not to print anything on the cake that we deem to be inappropriate," ShopRite spokeswoman Karen Meleta said. "We considered this inappropriate."

In order to purchase the desired cake the Campbells actually had to cross the Delaware River and conduct their business with a Pennsylvania Wal-Mart. Now, before anyone decides to boycott Wal-Mart, the store simply honored a paying customer’s request for a birthday cake with their son’s name iced on to the dessert. Nobody asked for the cake to be put on display in the bakery’s window and as soon as the cake was iced it could have been boxed with the name “Campbell” written atop for the parents to pick up when ready.

Sure, there’s a principle involved in the action taken by ShopRite, but where is the line drawn regarding what is or is not appropriate and who has the privilege of making such a decision? The Greenwich ShopRite is much closer to Philadelphia than New York. Could the bakery manager unilaterally determine a cake that said “Let’s Go Mets” be “inappropriate” because he or she is a Phillies fan? Could a cake congratulating Barack Obama for a customer’s inauguration party be deemed inappropriate if the bakery manager supported John McCain?

Make no mistake, I do not in any way, shape or form endorse the name chosen by the parents with which they saddled their child. A strong case could be made that such a moniker is a form of child abuse. One can only imagine the treatment and ridicule this child will be exposed to in school. Heath Campbell said he named his son after Adolf Hitler because he liked the name and because "no one else in the world would have that name." Campbell said his ancestors are German and that he has lived his entire life in Hunterdon County. Amazingly, both Heath, 35, and his wife Deborah, 25, expressed shock and surprise with the intolerance to which they claim they have been subjected, as well as the numerous angry postings on various internet sites directed toward the couple. Shocked? Surprised? What a couple of morons.

"I think people need to take their heads out of the cloud they've been in and start focusing on the future and not on the past," Heath Campbell said in an interview conducted in Easton, PA. "There's a new president and he says it's time for a change; well, then it's time for a change. They need to accept a name. A name's a name. The kid isn't going to grow up and do what Hitler did." Although Campbell claims no racial animus toward any group, he said he was raised to avoid people of other races and neither mix with, or get romantically involved with them. Quite frankly, the schools he attends should keep a close watch on this child. His name is just begging to keep him from making friends or getting dates. What parent wants their daughter coming home with Adolf Hitler Campbell.

Meanwhile, business is business, and Wal-Mart should not be chided for accepting the business of the Campbell family. It’s not up to Wal-Mart or ShopRite, for that matter, to determine the appropriateness of a person’s legally given name. The child will have enough problems later in life with which to battle. After all, what law firm, accounting firm or medical practice wants the name Adolf Hitler Campbell on its door, letterhead or website as a partner? Sure, his last name is Campbell, but what about when people see his full name on the diploma while I the waiting room? And, of course, there’s no way on earth young Mr. Adolf Hitler Campbell could ever get elected to anything – ever, no matter how good his ideas are or how well he presents them. Don’t forget serial killers, sociopaths, psychopaths and the infamous are typically tri-named: Lee Harvey Oswald, John Wayne Gacy, John Wilkes Booth, Jim Guy Tucker, James Earl Ray, Mark David Chapman, John Walker Lindh, John Allen Muhammad and Anna Nicole Smith, just to name a few. I’m not crazy about Philip Seymour Hoffman, Hillary Rodham Clinton, or Tommy Lee Jones, either, for that matter.

Sympathy for the child, yes; he is but three years of age. Hopefully he won’t be too damaged by the time he is old enough to either legally change his name if he so chooses or at the very least drop the middle name. A rose by any other name may still smell just as sweet, to paraphrase Billy Shakespeare, but not when its parents name it Adolf Hitler Campbell.

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Not Your Father's Stock Market - Does Anyone Really Miss Oldsmobile?

Not Your Father’s Stock Market – Does Anyone Really Miss Oldsmobile?
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
November 19, 2008

During Independence Day weekend in 2005 I bought a brand new Chevy Malibu. It’s such a nice automobile that General Motors now wants me to buy another one, except they won’t actually let me have the car. They, along with Ford and Chrysler want my money, but have nothing to offer in return. The same is true for the rest of American automobile owners and even those who do not currently own a vehicle of any kind.

Yes, my friends, welcome to the great American Automobile Bailout. The big three American auto makers in the United States flew into Washington, DC – on private jets, no less – obviously not learning anything from the piggish largesse demonstrated by AIG – hats in hand – upturned – begging Congress for a $25 billion “loan” to keep them afloat.

Remembering former First Lady Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug mantra of the 1980s, advice to Congress, “Just say no.” First the banking and financial industry, now the automobile industry, where does it end? Who will come calling next? Textile workers? The newspaper industry? Of course their failings are their own fault for all the pulp fiction the alleged mainstream media disguises as journalism. Well, as Harry Truman so eloquently noted on his Oval Office desk, “The buck stops here,” and here is with the American taxpayers. After all, the money Congress would “loan” the big three comes from the revenue provided by the American taxpayer.

And what do the taxpayers get in return?

Supporters of the bailout say it is necessary to prevent the auto industry from going bankrupt and eventually out of business causing the elimination of over one million jobs related directly and indirectly to the auto industry. US Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) never met a bailout he didn’t like – starting with the initial $700 billion and the $100 billion dumped in the laps of the AIG weasels who continued living high off the hog on the backs of the taxpayers while the AIG executives were getting cushy massages. If Frank is for it, it must be the wrong thing to do.

On the other hand, Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) was right on target when he called for Edward Liddy, AIG’s beleaguered CEO, to resign as a condition of the bailout. Why keep the same leaders at the helm to continue running the ship aground.

The automobile industry is to blame for their current failings. Obviously they are not producing the vehicles that the American motorist wants to drive or if they are, the cost is too prohibitive. And just why is the cost too prohibitive? It begins and ends with labor costs. The labor costs of the big three auto makers in the United States is roughly $73 to $74 per hour, while the labor cost of the average American worker not a part of the big three is about $28 to $29 per hour. By the way, in Japan, the labor cost of the auto worker is about $45 an hour.
If the government bails out the automobile industry what is to prevent it from continuing along the same path to disaster? Certainly not the government, who can barely manage its own affairs. If the big three face Chapter 11 bankruptcy they would be forced to reorganize themselves in a more fiscally prudent manner. Perhaps it is time for GM’s G. Richard Wagoner, Jr., Alan Mulally of Ford and Robert Nardelli of Chrysler, the Larry, Moe and Curly of automotive CEOs to be left at the side of the road.

Reorganization ought to include a panel of “civilians” to advise the big three what will drive customers back into the showrooms. Perhaps the big three simply need to make better vehicles. Although to be fair, I have only owned American cars and have had success with them, including my current Malibu, which I really enjoy, but then, I have low expectations – get me where I need to go safely and in a timely fashion. I probably would not be a good candidate for the civilian panel.

In fact my first car was a 1973 Delta 88 Oldsmobile – a big ole honking four door, dare I say, Carolina blue, behemoth of a car that had crank windows, AM-only radio and took regular leaded gasoline. Oldsmobile has gone the way of the dinosaur and America has survived. Perhaps if GM, Ford or Chrysler faded away or merged with one another and streamlined themselves, they could once again be the strong, solid American automobile manufacturer people remember from yesteryear. Sometimes a thinning of the herd strengthens the herd. Probably something of which Darwin would approve.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R), himself a Michigan native, has come out against the bailout. He suggests that bankruptcy is the appropriate way to go as well, because why should the American taxpayer be forced to pay for something they obviously did not want in the first place. Romney’s father, George Romney headed up American Motors starting in 1954. Anyone miss American Motors? They came into this world as a result of a merger between the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and the Hudson Motor Car Company in 1954. They foolishly merged with the French company Renault in the 1970s and finally exited stage left when Chrysler bought out AMC. (Renault after all produced the hideous Le Car in the early to mid ‘70s. What a piece of crap.)

Lead, follow or get out of the way is the advice for the big three. If they can’t make it on their own, it just wasn’t meant to be. If bankruptcy will shake loose the cobwebs and give people something worth buying at a price worth paying, consumers will be back. If not, perhaps one of the big three needs to fade into the sunset.

Some who support the bailout have suggested it would be bad for the economy if the bailout does not occur. Well, let’s look at the tumbling stock market. When the Democratic-led Congress approved the initial $700 billion bailout did the market suddenly turn around and enjoy an upswing? No. And with continued talks of more government handouts with taxpayer dollars, the market continues sliding into the mire and muck.

When the Dow Jones Industrial Average, first published on May 26, 1896 in Customer’s Afternoon Letter, the original Dow Industrials featured but 12 companies from America’s important industries. In 1916 the Dow expanded to 20 companies and finally in 1928 settled on 30 companies – the number used to this day. Of the original 12, General Electric is the last man standing – and barely at that. They have enough of their own problems.

So, what happened to the US Leather Company? Dissolved in 1952. What about North American Company? Broken up in the ‘40s. How about the National Lead Company? Today they are NL Industries, but they were tossed off the Dow in 1916. And the American Sugar Company? Today, they are Domino Foods, Inc. – sugar, not pizza. Companies come and companies go – like the Bible says, a time to be born and a time to die.

And what about the original Dow 30? Sure, Chrysler and GM are still standing, but did the country fold when Bethlehem Steel, founded in 1857, went bankrupt in 2001 and dissolved two years later? No, other businesses pick up the pace. Anyone miss Woolworth? OK, it was an American institution, but now there is Wal-Mart. Potsum Inc. became General Foods, while American Can became Primerica. Standard Oil of New Jersey became Exxon while Texas Corp. became Texaco and is now Chevron – just a hair of a different color. All part of the original 30. In business there are no sacred cows.

It may not be necessary to reinvent the wheel, but reinventing the American automobile industry sure seems like a prudent idea.

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

Thursday, November 6, 2008

"Wake Up, Damn It!" - Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene

“Wake Up, Damn It!” – Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
November 6, 2008

For the uninitiated, Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene told it like it was in his world on the Washington, DC airwaves on WOL during the late 1960s and early 1970s before succumbing to cancer. The ex-con, who described himself in his boss’s word – a miscreant, because it sounded more sophisticated, would no doubt be shocked that his trademark show opener on the DC soul music station would be used in conjunction with the Republicans. Don Cheadle more than adequately portrayed Greene in the enjoyable 2007 film Talk To Me.

With the GOP’s rapidly and radically shrinking numbers in the Congress, the elephant has become an endangered species and qualifies the Republican Party for federal aid and protection. But being the proud party of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, the GOP would never stoop to the level of the Democrats of milking from an already bloated and overextended federal government teat.

While the battle has been lost, the war wages on and it is incumbent of the Republican Party to coalesce, look forward and stop the blame game. Although there is more than enough blame to go around, it should not fall into the lap of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Like a rabid pack of wolves devouring their young, the McCain staffers are throwing Palin to those very wolves. They are wrong to do so, as much of the blame falls on the narrow shoulders of the McCain camp itself. John McCain needs to step up and silence the critics while defending his vice presidential nominee.

The 2008 GOP presidential campaign sadly resembled the 1996 milquetoast effort phoned in by the Bob Dole campaign. Make no mistake, I like Bob Dole – even voted for him (although I voted for Alan Keyes in the primary) and do not fault him as a person, World War II hero or United States Senator. But his campaign went through the motions as many people anointed him because the party majority believed it was “his turn,” much was the case with the John McCain campaign, until Palin was added to the ticket.

The problem was not that McCain’s people threw Palin under the Straight Talk Express after the election, but before the votes were even cast. Why was Palin not more properly prepped prior to appearing before a hostile media? Why was Palin not put on the Fox News Channel first, where she would have been given a fair shake on the fair and balanced news network. There, Palin could have gotten her “sea legs” in preparation for the unfriendly onslaught from the allegedly mainstream media that would inevitably follow.

No, no, Palin is not to blame for the loss this past Tuesday. History was made Tuesday because very motivated people voted for Barack Obama and fewer, less motivated people voted against Barack Obama as opposed to voting for John McCain. This campaign could not have been run more poorly. There is no honor in losing with what was at stake. The McCain camp allowed the media and Obama campaign determine what the McCain campaign would say or not say simply due the fear of being labeled a racist.

There is no question that Senator Obama ran a solid campaign, and why not, he had more money than any candidate has ever seen in history. He had the resources provided for him by many people who turned their dollars into votes to deliver the victory home for Obama. People were excited by the Obama candidacy because of his youthful exuberance, his promise of change, which is what will be left in people’s pockets if his economic proposals are enacted, and many people believed he is one of them – be it young, urbane, or biracial – both blacks and whites could associate with Obama.

Yet, while Senator McCain said he would run an honorable campaign, which he did, he failed to bring relevant issues to the forefront and force the media to either deal with those issues or admit they were in the tank for Obama. But McCain did not do either. So, while McCain was getting whacked like a piñata, only a handful of talk radio hosts – true conservatives like Sean Hannity and Mark Levin, for example, carried McCain’s water and begged him on air to hit back with Obama’s association to unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers, Antoin “Tony” Rezko, anti-Semitic Rev. Louis Farrakhan, incendiary Michael Pfleger and Obama’s 20-plus year, anti-American Pastor Jeremiah Wright.

McCain should have hammered Obama on his socialistic economic plans, government-run health care plans, poor grasp of foreign policy including his willingness to sit down without preconditions with Cuba’s Castro, Venezuela’s Chavez, North Korea’s Kim Jong Il and Iran’s Holocaust denier Ahmadinijad who has repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel, calling the Jewish state a “stinking corpse.” By voting in favor of the economic bailout several weeks ago, McCain ceded the economic socialism issue as the bailout was just that – socialistic and the stock market reacted adversely in the immediacy of that slippery-slope of a vote. And, just look at the continued downturn of the market in the days since the Obama victory – speaks volumes. Even Obama’s and Vice Presidential nominee Joe Biden’s own words were not used against them as often as they should have been. Obama-Biden ran on Carter issues, but with a Clinton campaign – thus the electoral success.

The American people were as in the dark about Obama on the eve of his historic election as they were when he announced his candidacy on the state house steps in Springfield, IL nearly two years ago. Statistically, it is known that Obama is the most liberal member of the United States Senate. Why that did not lead to a more conservative GOP nominee remains a mystery.

In fact, the most conservative Republican candidates for president, those who most adhered to the GOP principles of smaller government, less government interference in people’s lives, fewer government giveaways, fewer bailouts, a strong defense, an unwillingness to compromise on the issue of illegal immigration, a support of school choice – including vouchers and charter schools and lower taxes, were Jim Gilmore, Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo. Unfortunately, these three have a public demonstration of warmth roughly equivalent to a burned out light bulb. They are as about as exciting as a mug of warm milk. Yet, because of their principles and unyielding stance on the issues, Congressman Tancredo (CO) and Congressman Hunter (CA) were my top two choices. Sadly, neither could even muster enough support to garner the requisite signatures to place their names on the Virginia ballot. Gilmore (VA), who was slaughtered in his bid to replace retiring John Warner in the US Senate, was long gone by the time of the Virginia primary.

That left the ever amusing former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee, the uber-wealthy former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, Mr. Law & Order Fred Thompson, a former Tennessee senator, America’s mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York City and McCain – none of whom, save for Thompson, could be considered a conservative and Thompson ran such a lackluster campaign that he too was out before the Virginia February primary. Thompson earned my vote, as he was still on the ballot, and it also a message to Senator McCain that he needed to make a sharp right turn.

McCain did just that with his selection of Palin, but that seemed to be a Hail Mary pass late in the fourth quarter down by five points. Palin was hardly vetted – not her fault, and although she gave some fiery speeches and certainly reached the GOP base, the McCain folks did not prepare her well enough to face what awaited her.

With more grooming, education and experience as the Chief Executive of Alaska, Palin will have a future with the Republican Party. Few others loom on the horizon, save for representatives Marsha Blackburn (TN-7), Eric Cantor (VA-7), Shelley Capito (WV-2), Jeff Flake (AZ-6) Thad McCotter (MI-11), Adam Putnam (FL-12) and Paul Ryan (WI-1), as well as governors Charlie Crist (FL), Mitch Daniels (IN), Jon Huntsman, Jr. (UT), Bobby Jindal (LA), Tim Pawlenty (MN), Rick Perry (TX) and Mark Sanford (SC). The national party lacks leadership at the helm of the Republican National Committee (RNC), its core constituency is shrinking and not being replenished. So, aside from a failed campaign, the GOP has more internal problems that do not paint a pretty picture for its future.

For all its finger pointing and blaming each other, this is time for the GOP to heal itself. Recruit younger conservatives – people who believe in, and adhere to the core values of the Republican Party. Go forth and spread thy wings in the directions of Jewish, black, Hispanic and Asian voters who believe in traditional values of faith, family and freedom. People who believe in country before party. Actively engage on college campuses. Do not surrender academia to the Democrats, socialists and others attempting to brainwash our young people.

The GOP must widen its tent and not just give lip service to minority groups. It’s great to see the likes of my friend Michael Steele of Maryland at the head of GOPAC, but where are the other conservative black voters? It’s great to see Eric Cantor of Virginia as chief deputy minority whip in the House of Representatives, but where are the rest of the Jewish conservatives? There was no excuse for the Jewish vote to have turned out so heavily for Obama with his questionable associations and less than stellar support for Israel. Yet, in traditional liberal lockstep, the Jewish voters gave Obama 70-plus percent of their support.

With the defeat of Gordon Smith of Oregon, there are no longer any Republican senators on the west coast in the lower 48. With the defeat of Connecticut’s Chris Shays, there are no longer any Republican congressmen representing a single New England state. These are daunting and virtually insurmountable problems facing the future of the Republican Party. The white, Christian, male over 50 years of age is a fast shrinking demographic that the GOP must replenish from other avenues.

During the next four years the Republican Party must not wander the desert aimlessly while in exile from Washington, DC. The party must promote its brand in a positive fashion with fresh faces. Give younger people reasons to form Republican clubs on high school and college campuses. Promote positive reasons for being a Republican, not just negative reasons for not being something else. Seek out the minority groups that have traditionally believed there has not been a seat at the GOP table in the past.

During the next four years of exile, the Republican Party must be ever vigilant in keeping a close eye on the Obama administration. As Americans who believe in country first, we wish him well and hope for success. But we will be watching as liberal Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens will no doubt retire and probably justices “Darth Vader” Ginsburg and David “the disappointment” Souter as well – all liberals, giving Senator Obama ample opportunity to put a major handprint on the Supreme Court that will have a long-lasting impact for the foreseeable future. The Republicans must not be a rubber stamp on the confirmation of justices, judges, cabinet members and the other crucial appointments that will come before them in the Senate. Question them hard and vet them carefully. Do not be afraid to use the filibuster – and use it correctly – the way Jimmy Stewart aptly demonstrated in the great film Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.

The party must also go on offense as well in recruiting top flight candidates to run for the Senate in 2010. As the Reagan campaign slogan told us in 1980, “Now is the time.” Recruitment must already be under way. Of the 34 senators up for reelection in 2010, 15 are Democrats, including the seat currently occupied by Obama, which will be filled by another Democrat.

Chris Dodd (CT) could be in trouble with the right opponent, perhaps the recently defeated Congressman Shays. Russ Feingold (WI) could be in trouble as well, again with the right opponent, perhaps the up and coming Congressman Paul Ryan. Blanche Lincoln (AR) is a Democrat in the Deep South – she should be in as much jeopardy as Shays and Smith were in Connecticut and Oregon respectively. With all of his incendiary and polarizing remarks over the past four-plus years, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) should face stiff opposition, if the GOP can find an attractive candidate lacking Reid’s perpetual dourness. Ken Salazar (CO) could face a tough reelection battle if Tom Tancredo comes out of retirement. He has made overtures about seeking the governor’s mansion in the Centennial State.

Unfortunately, the remaining 10 Democratic senators facing reelection in 2010 will probably encounter no more than a token challenge and be returned for an additional six years. This includes Evan Bayh (IN) because he’s a moderate in a typically red state, Barbara Boxer (CA) because it’s California, Byron Dorgan (ND) because of his seniority, Daniel Inouye (HI) because it’s Hawaii, Patrick Leahy (VT) because it’s Vermont, Barbara Mikulski (MD) because it’s Maryland, Patty Murray (WA) because it’s Washington, Chuck Schumer (NY) because it’s New York, Ron Wyden (OR) because it’s Oregon and whomever fills Obama’s seat in Illinois because that person will have only served two years and have a connection to Obama.

Conservatives must not be afraid to speak up from the wilderness. Our voices must be heard – not just as reactionaries, but as visionaries with an eye toward the future of the greatest nation G-d put on earth. Republicans and the Republican Party ought to heed the words of the late Petey Greene and “Wake Up – Damn It!”

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

Friday, October 31, 2008

On the Death of Journalism

“To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists.” — Barack Obama in his memoir, Dreams From My Father; and a statement widely ignored by the allegedly mainstream media.

On the Death of Journalism
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
October 31, 2008

While the conversation between Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher has gotten more of a workout than Joan Rivers plastic surgeon, all one needed to do was read the words of the junior senator from Illinois in his book Dreams From My Father or review his words spoken in television and radio interviews over the past seven years.

Yet this material has been glossed over, ignored and covered up by the mainstream media in an effort to protect “their” candidate and help give him the coronation they have been attempting to coordinate since they threw senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) under the media bus. People seem to have forgotten that McCain was the media darling of the 2000 campaign primary season as top competitor to then Texas Governor George W. Bush.

Meanwhile, back at el ranchero, the Obama-Biden team continues to not make headlines for the numerous statements coming out of their collective mouths and for the information that has not come out of their campaign. Within the past week the Obama threshold of tax increase safety has summarily been lowered from the initial high water mark of $250,000, to $200,000 over the weekend of October 25-26, to the $150,000 as said by Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) during a speech earlier this week, to the $120,000 uttered by Obama surrogate Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM) on October 31 – which was no treat and most definitely a trick being played on the American taxpayer.

So, Senator Obama, what is the figure that you will settle upon for drawing the line in the sand where your tax increases will start affecting people? I probably should not have dared to ask the anointed one that hardball question because now I am subject to having my taxes audited, my garbage rooted through and perhaps my neighbors questioned about my comings and goings along with my personal habits, a al Joe the Plumber, who has been put through the wringer.

The treatment of Joe the Plumber by the Obama campaign is downright sinister and McCarthyesque – another Joe, just so people don’t mistake him for Eugene McCarthy. So, while the media is doing Obama’s bidding – one only need examine the statistics – the Obama campaign is punishing various media outlets who are not part of the Obama-media love fest.

Case in point; look at the treatment meted out to WFTV Orlando, FL news anchor Barbara West. Like Joe the Plumber, West dared to ask tough questions of Biden last weekend when she queried the VP nominee about Obama’s economic plans. Biden asked if the questions were a joke and wanted to know who wrote the questions for her. Following the interview the Obama campaign promptly cancelled the upcoming interview Jill Biden was to have with the Orlando station and blacklisted the station at least through Election Day. After taking their ball and going home to sulk, the Obama campaign subsequently banished the reporters from the Washington Times, New York Post and Dallas Morning News all for committing the heinous crime of endorsing John McCain. The Obama campaign alleged that it needed to make room on the campaign airplane for other publications’ reporters. OK, but why those three publications?

Numerous reporters who have traveled with the Obama campaign have indicated how aloof and distant the presidential nominee is with the media, while, interestingly enough, although no longer the media darling, McCain is much more at ease with the media traveling with his campaign. If this is the type of behavior one can expect from an Obama administration, his may be the most closed and cloistered in history – and that’s saying something recalling the animus Richard Nixon had for the press.

Regarding the statistics alluded to earlier, independent research has indicated that during the weeks following the two party’s national conventions, negative news reports about McCain versus those about Obama run over 74 percent against McCain and only about 15 percent against Obama on all media outlets combined, save for Fox News where negative reports about both candidates run 40 percent each. Now that’s fair and balanced.

Additionally, the Los Angeles Times is so deep in the tank for the Obama campaign that it refuses to release a video it possesses of a 2003 banquet at which Obama toasted and talked positively about so-called professor Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) spokesman. Khalidi is also described as a friend of Obama’s, something neither man has denied. Yet, not only does the left-leaning Times not feel obligated to give the public an opportunity to judge for themselves, but virtually all media outlets, save for Fox News and conservative talk radio hosts, have given Obama a pass regarding his relationships with so many other questionable sorts.

The alleged mainstream media has accepted at face value the superficial and rather suspect explanations lobbed by Obama regarding his relationships with Weather Underground, unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers, Obama’s 20-plus year pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, the incendiary Reverend Michael Phleger and political fixer and felon Antoin “Tony” Rezko. Apparently the media did not deem it important to report that Obama gave praise, in print, to a book Ayers wrote. Politics indeed makes strange bedfellows, but these are people who hopefully will not find themselves in the Lincoln Bedroom during an Obama administration, or any other, for that matter.

And don’t forget that while the New York Times wrote their “expose” about Cindy McCain’s admitted addiction to painkillers years ago, that alleged paper of record said nothing of the cocaine use admitted by Senator Obama. Don’t lose sight of the hammering GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin took because the party bought her a new $150,000 wardrobe. This did not come out of the pockets of the taxpayers or the government, and, if any of the reporting media outlets bothered to look past their own noses, they would have learned that the wardrobe was either being donated or returned after its use. To be fair, the notion of returning the wardrobe is akin to a free rental and no doubt the stores at which the clothing was purchased would cost some poor salesperson a nice piece of commission. Donating the entire wardrobe or auctioning it off for charity would have made the most sense.

Clearly, the media is fixated on blasting the GOP at every turn and giving a free pass to the Democrats – even when Senator Biden opens his mouth to insert an entire shoe store. On Sunday, October 19 at a campaign event in Seattle, Biden said, “Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."

Now there’s a confidence booster sure to send chills down the spines off all Americans. John Kennedy was tested via the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1961, but to borrow phrase with credit to the late Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen, “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.” Kennedy served in the United States Navy during World War II. Kennedy served in the United States Congress from 1947-53 when he moved to the United States Senate having won election to that body in 1952 and reelection in 1958 before running for president in 1960, whereas Obama worked a little more than 140 days in the Senate before declaring his presidential intentions. Yet, the media all but ignored Biden’s remarks. For the most part, it is via McCain campaign ads that anyone sees Biden’s frightening predictions.

And where was the media questioning of the Democratic VP nominee when he said paying taxes is patriotic, when he said that Senator Clinton would be a better vice presidential candidate and when he said about the top of his own ticket, Senator Obama, that the presidency does not lend itself to on the job training? Only on Fox News and some conservative talk radio programs are such issues discussed, but Obama does not appear on those programs to answer the tough questions.

Was the media on a collective holiday when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) declared the election over several weeks ago? It is widely known that Pelosi was on holiday after gaveling the House out of session before discussing the energy crisis in order to return home to sell books. Has anyone seen Pelosi’s book? Me neither.

What about when Senator Obama said that American troops overseas were “air-raiding villages and killing civilians?” Only McCain campaign ads provide that information to the public. The media has also given Obama a pass regarding his comments about Iran, North Korea and Venezuela being tiny countries that don’t pose a serious threat. Wow, now there’s a serious case of naïveté in the foreign policy arena. Again, and this is sounding more and more like a broken record – these are Obama’s words and little, if any, questioning is taking place to challenge a man vying to be Commander in Chief. Having said he would sit down with the leaders of those countries as well as Castro’s Cuba without preconditions, something Senator Clinton said she would not do, why hasn’t the media, save for Fox News, publicized this more? A president willing to sit down with the leader of a rogue nation calling Israel a “stinking corpse” and wanting to wipe the Jewish state off the map sounds more like an Appeaser in Chief, not a Commander in Chief – a 21st Century Neville Chamberlain.

Last, but certainly not least, where the media has completely folded like a cheap tent is in closing their eyes to the information they have not gathered. Either they refuse to do their homework because they are so deep into the Obama tank or they are simply incompetent. Either way, they should cease to identify themselves as journalists. Even political southpaw Dan Rather said the media’s double standard is standard operating procedure. Days after Rather’s enlightened remark, during a CNN interview with Governor Palin, the reporter agreed with the GOP VP nominee that there is indeed a media double standard and bias. I wonder if that reporter is still employed by CNN.
           
  1. Occidental College records – Not released
  2. Columbia University records – Not released
  3. Columbia Thesis paper – Not available
  4. Harvard College records – Not released
  5.
Selective Service Registration – Not released
  6. Medical records – Not released
  7. Illinois State Senate schedule – Not available
  8. Law practice client list – Not released
  9.
Certified copy of original birth certificate – Not released
10. Embossed, signed, paper certification of live birth – Not released
11. Harvard Law Review articles published – None
12. University of Chicago scholarly articles – None
13.
Record of Baptism – Not released or not available
14. Illinois State Senate records – Not available

That list is what should keep people up nights wondering how this great nation could possibly elect a person to the highest office of the land on Tuesday with so many unanswered questions. Overall, the media is an intellectually dishonest industry that should not take it upon itself to anoint the next president, but instead provide as much unbiased information as possible to allow the voters, one in seven of whom claims to still be undecided, a clear path to making the best decision they can without being unduly influenced.

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

Monday, October 27, 2008

Obama Scarier Than Halloween

Obama Scarier Than Halloween
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
October 27, 2008

Halloween may be observed on Friday around this great nation, but scarier is the ghoulish potential for the United States to be haunted for the next four years by Senator Barack Hussein Obama (D-IL), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The chills running up the nation’s collective spines must be mind numbingly frightening.

While children take to the streets in search of tricks and treats, consider the tricks that an Obama administration will surely play on a mostly unsuspecting nation. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee made a most appropriate Halloween analogy so simple that when children are asked about this, they will give an answer so resounding, their advice should be heeded. Huckabee likened Obama’s “spread the wealth around” mantra to this – ask your children if they think it would be appropriate if all those trick or treaters who took the time to get decked out in costumes, took the time to go door to door collecting their sweet treats, were forced to give half of their take to the children who stayed at home and did not put in the effort.

It’s like the insurance commercial slogan, “so simple a…”. Well, that commercial has been seen enough. What has not been seen is the truth behind the Obama economic policy. He is not looking to fix the economy. He is seeking to redistribute income – like a demented Robin Hood. In his standard stump speech Obama reminds those listening that taxes will not be raised on anyone earning $250,000 or less. Yet, just this past weekend in Obama commercials, approved by the candidate himself, after all, he said so, that figure is now reduced to $200,000. Seems more people will see their tax liability increase under Obama. What will it be by inauguration day - $150,000? $100,000? Where does it end Senator?

Another aspect of the alleged Obama economic recovery calls for the end of the Bush tax cuts. That, my friends, is an increase in taxes for many more people. Add to that, Obama first said 95 percent of Americans would not endure tax increases, then he shifted gears to 95 percent of working Americans would not endure tax increases. Judging from the aforementioned information, that just doesn’t seem plausible.

Obama also talks about growing the economy from the bottom up. Now, I’m no Milton Friedman, of Blessed memory, but plants and trees with solid roots and fortification can grow from the bottom up, not the economy. Obama wants to add to the tax burden of corporate America. Who does he think will bear the burden of those increases? People like Joe the Plumber and Sanford the writer will when corporations raise the prices on the goods and services they produce and sell. In order to maintain their profit margins, employment will be reduced putting Joe the Plumber out of work unable to buy those products. This vicious cycle will lead to catastrophic results.

Giving handouts to those at the bottom rung will not fix what ails the economy. Raising the tax on capital gains will not fix the economy either. But that is not Obama’s goal. He is not seeking to fix the economy, but instead redistribute the wealth of those hard working risk takers who struggled to buy their own businesses and invest in companies that may or may not succeed. Why is the government entitled to suck off the success of the risk taker in America? Why are those who have not made an effort entitled to a piece of the pie that someone else baked after planting the seeds and growing the fruit? That is not how America works. We the people do have a responsibility for those persons who are physically or mentally unable to care for themselves – that’s the compassionate part of conservatism. But endlessly priming the pump will only produce an empty pump. The haves will be discouraged from producing more and more only to be allowed to keep less and less. Then the have nots will wonder why the well has run dry.

Obama should take a page from President John F. Kennedy. So many have incorrectly compared the two Democrats, at least Obama could emulate something Kennedy did – lower tax rates. Yes, that’s right, for those who do not remember or do not want to be reminded, JFK lowered tax rates and that spurred the economy. People had more disposable income, they did just that, and new jobs were created, thus adding to the federal coffers due to the increase in tax revenue collected because more people paid into the system. And, by the way, Obama is nothing like Kennedy. JFK served in the US Navy during World War II, garnered a seat in Congress, served three terms prior to being elected to the Senate, twice, then running for president. Obama served a mere 140 working days in the Senate before announcing his White House aspirations.

Obama is not alone here. On October 21 Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) said, “There’s a lot of rich people out there whom we can tax.” Apparently what’s yours is his. And yet, Frank will win reelection, with at least 60 percent of the vote. One of the many problems with Congress is that while it has a lower approval rating that President Bush, people claim to distrust the body politic, but like their own representative.

Yet the notion of a veto-proof government with the Democrats controlling the White House, the Senate and the Congress, and virtually no checks on it is not what democracy is all about. The Founding Fathers created a democratic republic. They no doubt would be horrified by what government has become – a bloated sow, spending money it has little to no constitutional right to spend, kissing the collective behinds of lobbyists and special interest groups from coast to coast and ignoring the call of the people. Both Democrats and Republicans are guilty as charged here.

Congress approved a bailout of Wall Street – signed on to by both Senator Obama and Senator John McCain (R-AZ). Has it worked? No. Will it? No. Why not? Because the people opposed it and the market continues slumping toward a cozy corner of Hell due to a sheer lack of confidence and a fear of the unknown. With all of Obama’s proposed economic hocus pocus, there is a rampant fear causing a tremendous sell off. The advice I gave last week still holds, don’t panic, don’t sell. Not because of any confidence in an Obama administration, but instead knowing that the market is cyclical and will recover in spite of the occupant at
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
.

Perhaps former President Bill Clinton was right when he said “it’s the economy, stupid.” That said, the nation needs an economic face lift from the top down, not social engineering that will cripple the economy and perhaps bankrupt a nation. Let’s not turn into Iceland.

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

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Obama's Mondale Moment

Obama’s Mondale Moment
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
October 16, 2008

While Ohio resident Joe Wurzelbacher a.k.a. “Joe the Plumber” enjoyed his Andy Warhol moment, don’t lose sight of the fact that Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) had his Mondale moment uttering the words, “I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."

Walter “Fritz” Mondale sunk his own battleship as the Democratic Party’s standard bearer in 1984 when, during one of the debates with President Ronald Reagan, he admitted he would raise taxes on the American people. Granted, Mondale had little chance of defeating the enormously popular Reagan, who did so much to restore faith in America, reinvigorate the economy and bring the Cold War to a victorious conclusion, but to brazenly say he would raise taxes seemed the last nail in Mondale’s political coffin.

Obama, on the other hand, has a lead, thanks to the mainstream media swimming in the deep end of the the Obama tank, praising his every move from sitting up in the morning to not being able to bowl, because to do so would tarnish his halo and make him seem like one of the folks.

Obama leads because the Democratic Congress has done nothing to help fix the economy, although every time government touches something it turns to crap. Perfect example, the recent government bailout of Wall Street. The average American opposed this and told their individual members of their collective outrage. Sadly, neither Obama nor Senator John McCain (R-AZ) listened to their constituents, and the stock market responded negatively. And why? Consumer confidence waned on the heels of a Congressional decision not supported by the people.

Now, as far as the stock market doing its best impression of the Titanic, simply follow this advice: don’t panic, don’t sell. Losses are on paper until one opts to sell. One sells when one panics. There is no reason to panic, unless Obama becomes the next Commander in Chief, and even then, the market moves in cycles and will make a comeback, replacing the temporarily lost wealth. In fact, anyone who can afford to buy, should probably do so.

But, while the alleged mainstream media downplays, or even ignores outright, Obama’s connections to unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers of the Weather Underground, Reverend Jeremiah Wright – the Obamas’ pastor for more than two decades until recently, Father Michael Pfleger and Louis Farrakhan, all of whom have made viciously incendiary remarks for years, in an effort to remain on point by talking about the key issues of this campaign, Obama’s remark about “spreading the wealth around,” must not be overlooked.

The media can ignore ACORN and its nutty practices of attempting to hijack the election with thousands of illegally registered voters and that organization can claim its accusers are simply being racist in an attempt to keep the poor and downtrodden from voting. Obama, by the way, is inexorably linked to ACORN as he represented them as their attorney and has received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the allegedly non-partisan organization. ACORN also receives thousands upon thousands of federal tax dollars to conduct their activities, many of which are suspect and have been identified as such by people within the organization.

There is nothing racist about the various state secretaries of state and attorneys general – Democrat and Republican alike – doing their jobs and ensuring a fraud-free election by verifying the veracity of each voter registration form that slides across their desks. It is not racist to investigate an organization that hires released felons to register voters already registered to vote in another jurisdiction. It is not racist to investigate an organization submitting falsified voter registration forms in the names of the deceased, fictional characters or sports figures registered elsewhere. It is not racist to investigate an organization that registers voters multiple times with different addresses and phone social security numbers. For all the good intentions of ACORN to legitimately register qualified potential voters, more than a few bad nuts have tarnished the entire tree, as the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The cries of racism have been the mantra of the Obama campaign and its supporters whenever legitimate criticism is levied at the presidential candidate by any opposition or seemingly negative news report. Senator Obama himself lobbed the first volley of racial accusations in a preemptory strike, preparing his supporters for what he said would come from his opponents. Obama repeated in speech after speech, and appearance after appearance, that his opponents will say he has a funny sounding name, that he doesn’t look like the presidents on the money, and, oh, by the way, did you know he’s black?

Guess what Senator Obama, everyone knows you are black, and most people just don’t care. Most Americans care about the red, white and blue – they salute the flag every day, and pray that our troops are safe and performing their duties honorably – the duties, for which, you, Senator Obama voted to stop funding.

Most Americans care about the green – how little they will take home and how much will be taken from them if you occupy the White House starting next January. After all, this is what you told Joe the Plumber – “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” Maybe to you and Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) who believes tax increases are a demonstration of patriotism, but not to the rest of America – that mainstream, clinging to their guns and religion rest of America that you, Senator Obama so disparaged while enjoying brie and chardonnay with your San Francisco pals. (With apologies to my Republican friend Ruth who could live on chardonnay – a black Republican, by the way.)

The claims of racism are tossed around like a salad so cavalierly as to devalue the word’s true meaning and diminish the long suffering of, and strident gains made by the workers of the Civil Right Movement – the men and women – black, white, Jew and Gentile who marched, protested and even died for a cause greater than themselves. No wonder Senator McCain is so disturbed by the remarks made by Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) and by Senator Obama’s unwillingness to repudiate them.

This time, Senator Obama, your own words are what will hold you back. Joe the Plumber asked if your alleged economic recovery plan would tax him more. Here is an individual who has worked hard to the point where he is trying to buy his own business. By doing so, Joe will no doubt employ people, provide them with health insurance and take the personal risk of his own sweat equity and capital to make the business succeed. The last thing Joe needs is for Uncle Sam to clamp down and take a bigger bite simply because Joe took the risks and succeeded.

“It’s not that I want to punish your success,” Obama said to Joe. “I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they’ve got a chance for success too. My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody,” continued Obama, as if reading from the book of Marx, and not Groucho either. This is classic socialism that Obama is advocating. In this country people earn their own success and some people are just more successful than others. Those folks who wish to give up more of their own wealth to help others, great – G-d Bless them for that, but it is certainly not government’s place to take it from people simply to “spread the wealth around.”

Just to give Senator Obama a brief economics lesson, raising taxes thwarts success, diminishes returns on investments, gives consumers less money with which to consume leading to job loss and companies going out of business, which in turn produces less tax revenue for the Senator’s pork projects.

Many people have compared Obama to former president Jimmy Carter for his foreign policy naivete. Well, this completes the ticket with Obama’s Mondale moment demonstrating his economic naivete as well.

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

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Nation Burns While Congress Fiddles

Nation Burns While Congress Fiddles
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
October 12, 2008

A la Nero, fiddling while Rome burned, so too, the nation burns as Congress fiddles while not in session.

The Democratic-lead Congress said they will work on solving the current economic crisis after Election Day. This is clearly a partisan tactic in hopes the stock market continues spiraling toward hell costing Americans – Democrats and Republicans alike, billions of hard-earned pension dollars – thus handing the White House to Senator Obama (D-IL).

President Bush, who has been less than proactive, should call Congress back into session to actually do their jobs. And although Bush has an approval rating hovering around 30 percent, Congress has an approval rating of roughly a miniscule 13 percent. The problem – when surveyed, most people applaud their own member of Congress, but condemn the body as a whole.

Sadly, the body as a whole needs to be changed – on both sides of the aisle, save for a precious few members, who are stand up folks. Problem is, incumbency is a virtual lock on reelection – in higher percentages than in Russia, of all places.

If members of Congress enjoy these long, paid breaks out of session, they should be given a permanent break – send them home on November 4 – for good. Remember, Congress, like a diaper, needs to be changed often, and typically for the same reason.

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Big D Earns a Big F - and So Does DC

Big D Earns a Big F – and So Does DC
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
August 26, 2008

In Dallas, TX, “F” stands for neither failure or final. But it does stand for foolish. The Dallas school board, in its inimitable stupidity has decided to change the rules in an attempt to reduce the horrifyingly high dropout rate of roughly 50 percent.

Students earning a failing grade on a test will have five days to retake that test and keep the higher score. The same test – not a different variation covering the same material. This gives new meaning to the term “dumbing down.”

This new watered down policy may reduce dropout rates – maybe, but what it most certainly won’t do is prepare students for the real world of competition that awaits them outside the walls of the Dallas school system. This is an obscenity of epic proportion.

Students earning Bs, Cs and Ds suffer from this moronic policy. For one, a student earning a D was simply too smart to fail, yet now has a poor grade to show for the effort. B students, so close to the Holy Grail, could still find themselves on the outside looking in as the failing student could pull an A out of the magic hat of do-overs.

Of course the industrious student could simply fail the original test on purpose, look at it as a review, retake it and earn an A – after all, only the high grade sticks. Life may be about reinventing oneself, but it does not grant do-overs, and neither should the school system in Dallas.

From Dallas to DC, our nation’s capital offers up this next bit of educational idiocy. Chancellor Michelle Rhee is seeking to bribe DCPS students by paying them up to $100 for good attendance, good behavior and good grades. This too is an absurdity. Good attendance, behavior and grades are supposed to be the norm.

I am not writing from some pie in the sky perspective about the DC school system. Having taught in two of DC’s charter schools and understanding that attendance, behavior and grades are poor – even worse in the public schools of the District, to offer awards delivers a wrong message and sets a bad precedent. The reward of good attendance is learning and knowledge – after all knowledge is power I would remind my student on an almost daily basis. And attendance is mandatory until age 16. Tighten the attendance policy to ensure those who do not attend are held back to repeat the grade they so cavalierly dismissed as unimportant.

The reward of good behavior is reward in and of itself. Why do children need to paid to behave appropriately? The reward of good grades should be learning, knowledge and hopefully success at the college level, the military or the work world. Bad behavior gets punished in the real world, while good behavior is its own reward. Badly behaved adults end up incarcerated while well behaved adults become contributing members of society.

As adults, employees are expected to arrive on time, follow the company policies and perform their job in the best manner they know how in exchange for their remuneration. Should they fail on any of those expectations, chances are they will lose their job, and thus their means of support, while success leads to bonuses, raises and even promotions.

For students, good attendance and good behavior leads to good grades typically because they are in class paying attention and learning. Those good grades are rewarded with the raise and promotion to the next grade – not social promotion. Receiving financial remuneration simply waters down the strength and value of the reward of grades and knowledge themselves.

Parents must educate their children about the way school used to be, outline their expectations for their children’s success and excellence and not be afraid to mete out discipline as necessary.

The Rhee program will consist of 14 middle schools from DC, the lowest ranked of all urban school districts, paying about 3,000 students up to $100 every two weeks. Currently only 12 percent of eighth graders have achieved proficiency in reading, and fewer yet, just nine percent are proficient in math.

Will this bribery scheme work? That remains to be seen. But let’s examine another bribery scheme. New York City paid high school students $1,000 to take Advanced Placement tests. The end result – students given the incentive scored lower than those taking the AP exam prior to the facilitation of the incentive. Money well spent? Not then, nor due to come.

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

He Who Lives in Glass Mansions

He Who Lives in Glass Mansions
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
August 26, 2008

So the McCains own seven homes. Notice I said the “McCains,” not John McCain. Notice I said “homes,” not houses. It is revoltingly both un-American and un-capitalistic to berate, condemn or criticize someone for achieving the American dream.

The McCains are a true success story. John McCain is merely a beneficiary of Cindy McCain’s family wealth. Her family rode the wave of success of a beer distributorship – this comes from hard work. That’s the American way. Her family money, the Henley family money, is in Cindy’s name, not John’s

John’s success story didn’t start out that way. After an admittedly less than stellar academic tenure at the U.S. Naval Academy, John embarked upon a career in service to this great nation. His story is well documented as a P.O.W. for five years in Vietnam’s inaptly named Hanoi Hilton. McCain returned home to an ungrateful nation having barely survived the ordeal. Settling in Arizona, McCain took a run at Congress, in 1982, garnering the seat in what was then Arizona’s first district. After two terms, McCain sought the Senate seat of the vaunted Mr. Conservative, Barry M. Goldwater in 1986.

With Cindy, the McCain family grew both naturally and via adoption. The family fortune brought fortune to many disadvantaged people as Cindy traveled conducting humanitarian relief efforts. And, yes, the fortunes of people in the real estate community grew as well. Several of the McCain homes are condos lived in by their children, and two, one in Arlington, VA and one in Arizona are the official residences of the senator himself – the same right afforded the other 534 members of both houses of Congress.

Wealth achieved and earned legally and legitimately should not be disparaged. The McCains need not be embarrassed by their alleged largess. Sure, the Senator could have answered that fated question better, but then again, most of those homes are in Cindy’s name and under her purview.

On the other hand, senators who live in glass mansions in Chicago while their half-brother lives in squalor in Kenya, should not throw stones. This goes beyond the John Edwards’ notion of two Americas. This is two worlds. One world has Senator Barack Obama in his mansion with less than kosher financing via friend and criminal Tony Rezko. The other world has the Obama’s half-brother attempting to live on pennies a day – about one dollar a month in Kenya. Conservative radio and television host Sean Hannity offered, on air, to send Obama’s half-brother $1,000 if the family would provide an address. This was not to mock the senator’s half-brother, but instead to embarrass Obama who seems to offer change, of some yet defined manner to this nation, while his half-brother has nothing but change in his pockets.

This is not a nation that criticizes wealth and success via hard work. We celebrate it. Millions are trying to move here – hopefully legally – in quest of their piece of the pie. If unable to achieve their piece from an existing pie, they will happily bake their own – and should be applauded for the effort – just like the McCain family.

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