Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Racial Polarization and Baltimore


By John Feehery

In the aftermath of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, my hometown of Chicago faced riots in most of the worst ghettos in the city, except in certain areas on the South Side that were controlled by the Blackstone Rangers.


The Rangers had been founded by a bunch of 12 to 15 year old six years before the 1968 riots, and King had developed a close relationship with many of them.   Out of respect for the slain civil right leader, they kept the kids in their neighborhoods from burning down buildings and looting stores.


Jeff Fort, who was the leader of the Rangers, would later get indicted and sent to jail for misusing close to million dollars in Federal money that was earmarked for community development.   That tells you the extent of the corruption in the federal war on poverty. that a gang leader like Fort would be given nearly a million dollars in taxpayer money to misspend.


Fort would later convert to Islam, become the leader of the El Rukns, a terrifying black Islamic terrorist gang that became notorious for murder, mayhem and drug peddling in the 1970’s and 1980’s. He would then spend serious hard time for murder,etc..


I was thinking about the Blackstone Rangers after I heard about a news story of how two national gangs, the Bloods and the Crips, had joined forces with another local Baltimore gang, the Black Guerilla Family, to target cops in Charm City.


Baltimore has a black mayor, a black Police Chief, and a police force that is half black. This is no Ferguson.


Anybody who ever watched the television show “The Wire” knows that Baltimore has a real crime problem. Gangs run the streets, run narcotics, run prostitutes and run the local jail.


It’s a terrible situation and it is getting worse.


Sure, there probably has been some police brutality on occasion, but it doesn’t even come close to the routine violence that terrorizes the city on a regular basis.


If there is one group in Baltimore that has a vested interest in keeping the city polarized, it is the gangs.


Perhaps the biggest threat to gang activity is gentrification.


Once white people move in with baby strollers, city services get better, schools improve, and cops start paying attention to local crime. At least that is the opinion of Spike Lee, who enjoys doing some race-baiting in his own right.


And to gang-bangers, nothing is worse than having the cops around, checking into their affairs.


Racial polarization is bad for the American people, but it is especially bad for law abiding African-Americans.


When the schools get segregated, that is bad for black people. When grocery stores don’t open in neighborhoods because of a persistent fear of crime, rioting and looting, it is bad for black people. When there is a toxic distrust of the police, it is bad for black people. When the local CVS is burned down, it is bad for black people, especially black people who need life-saving drugs but can’t get them because they can’t get to a drug store any where near where they live.


But that’s not how Al Sharpton sees it. He can never miss an opportunity to polarize the country along racial lines. For him, everything good is black and everything white is bad.


And he gets away with it, because that is his business model.   That’s how he makes his money. The fact that he has his own television show only gives him a bigger platform from which to polarize the country.


I was struck by the movie “Selma” because it too tried to polarize the country along racial lines, showing Lyndon Johnson as an unwilling participant in the march for civil rights, because it was far better for the purposes of the movie-maker to polarize the country along racial lines.


The fact is that key white people played a critical role in passing civil rights legislation, including some Republicans. When there is a partnership between black and whites, both sides prosper. When there is strife, both sides suffer.


What is happening in Baltimore is not chiefly a racial conflict. It is a class conflict, with a bunch of young hoodlums and gang-bangers taking advantage of every situation to loot and cause mayhem.


Middle-class African Americans, I assume, are as horrified by these images as I am.


The police and the mayor have called on the parents of these trouble-makers to get their kids home. As if they would go home. I wonder how many of them even have a home to go home to.


This complete breakdown in values is a long-time coming.


There is no excuse for the nonsense that has engulfed the streets of Baltimore, and yet I expect that there will plenty of so-called leaders who will be offering plenty of excuses on behalf of the perpetrators.


It was jarring to see the scenes in Baltimore unfolding over the weekend as President Obama was guffawing at bad jokes at the White House Correspondents Dinner.  A couple of those jokes made fun of white racist cops. Ha Ha.


None of this is funny.


It’s just sad. Damn sad.


Racial polarization is bad for most Americans, unless, of course, you are one of those who have a vested interest in perpetuating strife.


And unfortunately, there are plenty of race-baiters out there who see racial polarization as a business model.  I wish they would stop.

Topic: Uncategorized

Why Kasich Should Run


By John Feehery

Is an already crowded field for the presidency in 2016 a barrier to entry for Ohio Gov. John Kasich?

I don’t think so. In fact, it could help Kasich by lowering the amount of money necessary to compete.

Right now, the GOP field is divided into two camps: Jeb Bush and everybody else. Nobody in the current field can compete with the Bush financial and organizational network; these candidates can only hope to be the alternative should the former Florida governor falter.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is the latest flavor of the month, and he sits atop the “everybody else” primary. But primary voters are a fickle lot, and they blow with the latest earned media.

Of the announced candidates, nobody can rival Kasich’s long experience in delivering positive policy results.

I remember when Kasich was a backbencher on the House Budget Committee, working with Minnesota Democrat Tim Penny to produce a detailed plan to balance the federal budget. Republicans had been in the minority for close to four decades, and many resisted Kasich’s bipartisan efforts to specify programs for elimination. Why put a target on our back, they reasoned?

But Kasich, the son of a mailman, argued that Republicans could only lead if they were straight with the American people. When the GOP swept into the majority in 1994, Kasich followed up by producing the first balanced budget in a generation.

Shockingly enough, the Kasich plan worked, and the federal government actually ran such high surpluses that then-Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan, wondered publicly what would happen if the U.S. actually were to pay off all of its debts.

Then, Kasich left Congress to run for president, terrorists attacked the U.S. on 9/11, and those surpluses disappeared.

What Kasich implemented in Congress, a pro-growth tax agenda coupled with some common-sense restraints to spending, hasn’t been replicated since he departed Washington.

To prove what he did back in the ’90s wasn’t a fluke, Kasich did the same thing as governor in his home state of Ohio. He turned a huge deficit into a surplus of a nice size by implementing economic growth policies while trimming unnecessary spending.

Kasich did it by being alternatively confrontational and conciliatory to his political opposition. He easily won reelection, garnering 24 percent of the black vote and a huge chunk of the labor vote.

Kasich has an ability to communicate to blue-collar workers because he comes from a family of blue-collar workers. He was able to attract black voters because he listens closely to their concerns and does his best to be responsive to them.

As Ohio’s governor, he hasn’t necessarily been a doctrinaire conservative, which could prove to be a liability to some of the GOP’s more ideological primary voters. He decided to move forward on expanding Medicaid in the context of ObamaCare, to the annoyance of many in Washington. He angered the oil and gas industry by proposing an increase in fees for fracking in his state. He wanted to increase tobacco taxes.

On the utility of smaller government, he memorably said that God wasn’t going to ask you how much you shrank the government when you reached the pearly gates. Instead, he would ask about how you helped the poor.

Kasich governs as a conservative, but neither he nor his constituents are angry about it. In fact, Ohioans think that their governor would make a fine president, and in recent state polls, he easily leads the crowded field.

Of course, it all comes down to money, as Kasich himself has stated on more than one occasion. If he can raise $20 million to $30 million, he will enter the race and be very, very competitive.

Here’s to hoping the governor has a good fundraiser. I think Kasich would make a terrific addition to an already strong Republican field of challengers.

Topic: Uncategorized

SGR Down. Corporate Tax Reform Next?


By John Feehery

John Boehner.jpg

“John Boehner” by Gage Skidmore – Flickr: John Boehner. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

(This originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank)

If Congress can solve a problem like Medicare’s “doc fix,” lawmakers should be able to address a corporate tax rate that kills economic growth and moves jobs overseas.

Medicare’s “Sustainable Growth Rate” mechanism was part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The idea was to tie the set rate at which Medicare doctors are compensated to economic growth. But health-care costs grew faster than the economy, and to avoid a physician exodus that could threaten the program, every year Congress would pass a temporary “doc fix” adding to the amount paid to the doctors.

Fixing the SGR gives peace of mind to doctors that they can continue to participate in Medicare. It’s good policy and good politics. (more…)

It’s Really Not That Complicated


By John Feehery

Obama Health Care Speech to Joint Session of Congress.jpg

“Obama Health Care Speech to Joint Session of Congress” by Lawrence Jackson – Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

It’s really not that complicated.

I don’t mean to sound like Peter Morini, but when it comes to the vote for Speaker of the House, it really isn’t that complicated.

You are either shirts or skins.  Red or blue.  Republican or Democrat. (more…)

5 Reasons the GOP Will Beat Expectations Next Week


By John Feehery

Pat Roberts official photo 2.jpg

“Pat Roberts official photo 2″ by United States Senate – File:Pat_Roberts_official_photo.jpg. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

(This originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank)

The midterm elections are one week away. Here are five reasons that Republicans are set to do much better in seven days than the polls indicate today:

1. Democrats are already playing the blame game. Josh Earnest, the president’s spokesman, told the press corps last week that the White House was not to blame for Democratic losses. But over the weekend, the New York Times reported that was precisely what Senate Democrats were preparing to do. Political campaign professionals are like squirrels in the fall: When they start packing up their nuts early, you know it’s going to be a long winter. (more…)


Sign up for The Feehery Theory mailing list and receive an email each time a blog is posted.

  • Quotable, up-to-the-minute opinions.
  • Insider perspective of a Capitol Hill veteran and Republican pundit.
  • Never miss a post.

Subscribe now for theories on all things, but mostly politics.