John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Monday Musings

Posted on May 10, 2010
Reading Lena Horne’s obituary made me think about how change is such an important part of the American character.

Horne, despite her obvious beauty, overwhelming talent and her sizzling personality, could only get bit roles in Hollywood, and those brief appearances were edited out of the versions that were shown in the South, because Southerners apparently couldn’t handle seeing a black performer in a non-subservient role.

This was fifty years ago, people.

Now, Republicans -- who first led the fight for the abolition of slavery, and then helped pass civil rights legislation with liberal Democrats, and then profited off of a morally-suspect Southern strategy – have a African-American Committee Chairman who has successfully recruited more conservative black candidates for office than any other GOP Chairman in history.

Things change, when you least expect it.

Robert Bennett, the Utah Senator, thought that he had the support of his folks back home to take the leadership on issues like TARP and health care.  He learned the hard way that being bipartisan sometimes means having to say your sorry to your right-wing base, who just didn’t take sorry for an answer.  They bounced him faster than you can say “Thanks, but no thanks.”

The conventional wisdom was that Charlie Crist had no chance of winning in Florida once he became an independent.  But what if Charlie gets most of the Democratic vote and 35% of the Republican vote and all of the independent vote?

Drill baby drill seemed like a good campaign theme late in 2006 then again in 2008, but it really never helped the Republicans win any elections.  Energy independence sounds really good in theory, unless of course, it means that it makes gas cost more than 5 dollars a gallon.  The fact of the matter is that the free market gets you the lowest price for a tank of gas, no matter where the oil comes from.  And ultimately, that is the only thing that consumers care about.  Drilling of the coast of Florida or California?  I think you can safely say that those days have come and gone.

Everybody assumes that America was going to continue to rule the world.  Then everybody assumed that China was going to start calling the shots, and America was done for.  America could go the way of Greece, and go bankrupt.  That is certainly a possibility.  But what if China’s bubble collapses and its oppressive political structure collapses with it?  What happens then?  What if America starts making some simple choices to cut spending, like raising the retirement age, making rich people pay a bit more for their health care, cutting back on pensions, and other small things that will save a lot of money?  And what if the economy comes back, and tax revenues go up, and the rich and the poor start paying more in taxes because the Bush tax cuts expire?  Well, then, we might be in a good spot to continue to lead the world.

Things change.  That is the nature of life.