Petty… Petty… Petty

Republicans might be more effective in their opposition to Democrats if they saved their ammunition for the bigger battles ahead.

opaIt was reported by various news agencies this morning, May 31, 2009, that President Obama has kept yet another campaign promise, this one to his wife, Michael Obama. He reportedly told his wife before the election that when his campaign for the presidency was over, win or lose, he would take her out for dinner in the Big Apple and to a Broadway show. It has also been reported that the Republican National Committee (RNC), in response this presidential date, issued a news release chastising Obama for saying that he understands American’s troubles, but then hops up to New York for “a night on the town.” How petty!

The White House declined to say how much the trip was costing taxpayers, but I can’t imagine Mr. Obama not paying for the dinner out and the show tickets himself. And even if taxpayers did have to pay for their flight to New York in a smaller jet of the presidential fleet, it seems to me that the price was well worth it if only to demonstrate a little normalcy to the people amid these troubled economic times. Americans deserve a little “true” romance — and, according to reports, New Yorkers lined up eight-deep in places to catch a glimpse of the first couple as they drove by.  Surely, the First Couples’ endorsement of the West Village restaurant, Blue Hill, and Broadway’s Belasco Theater showing “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” has helped to stimulate a little business in the City of Light. And since the First Couple didn’t have to drag along the entire White House staff for a longer stay at the Camp David retreat center, I for one will not begrudge the President and First Lady a well-earned night off.

Having said that, neither do I begrudge anyone’s right to criticize, including the RNC and even Rush Limbaugh. After all, he’s got a living to make and he does have a following. But I have a right to think what I do too, and I think Republicans might be more effective in their opposition to Democrats if they saved their ammunition for the bigger battles ahead:  the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court who, if confirmed (or should I say when), will be one of only three Democratic Supreme Court justices, the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill, and Ted Kennedy’s new national health care plan.

The ugly rhetoric is surely turning-off many moderate Republicans and independents, and is certainly losing Republicans support among Hispanics. By the way, if you think that Sonia Sotomayor is a racist because some outspoken Republicans have said she is, know that the justification for this claim is based on an out-of-context statement taken from a 2001 argument about her ability to render better judgments in cases involving prejudice than a white, male judge might be. The entire text of her statement is available at

I invite your comments, whether supportive or not.

Published in: on May 31, 2009 at 12:09 pm  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I agree that the Republicans are indeed being very petty over President taking his wife out. You’re right – they certaintly didn’t complain of all the many trips Bush took from DC to his Crawford ranch. I’m glad that Obama chooses to keep priorities in his marriage – just because he’s President doesn’t mean that he cannot enjoy at least some normalcy in his life. Republicans, give me a break!

  2. Thanks, Thelma. I think most reasonable people would agree with us, Democrat and Republican.


  3. I agree! Let the guy have a night out!

    I am interested in your thoughts on Sotomayor’s decision regarding Ricci vs. DeStefano and how it might affect her likely appointment to the bench.

    Similarly, do you think that, at minimum, the Congress (both parties) should be required to read the bills before they vote on (specifically, the health care and cap and trade bills). Dare I hope that they might even understand the bill prior to voting? I just don’t see it happening in the rush to go on vacation…

  4. I don’t think that anything will derail Sotomayor’s confirmation (first question). Opinion regarding the Ricci vs. Destafano discrimination issue will not hurt her in the Senate as her decision to uphold a lower court’s decision on the matter was prudent. Her’s, I think, was a politically brilliant nomination by Obama — but Democrats should not expect her to abide by the party line. A woman’s right to choose? Go guess.

    I suspect our opinions of Congress and their ability to make informed decisions on the legislative agenda before them is very similar. They will, for the most part, vote expediently — as they always have. Nothing very much changes in Washington, regardless of what party has the majority in Congress. I’m very much for term limits. You???


  5. Absolutely! Term limits limit power, and power becomes absolute in life long Congressional seats. And we know what absolute power does…

    In light of the SC’s decision on Ricci, I think Sotomayor may have a bit of explaining to do, particularly in light of the fact that she was criticized by others on the bench and did not fully explain her decision. Prudence does not explain away a faulty decision, as the SC decision proves.

    Voting on a huge bill that was amended a mere 20 hours prior to that vote is plain wrong. I don’t care if they want to go on their Independence Day vacations.

  6. See, we’re not so far apart on everything. We’re just looking at things from different directions. Power to the People!

    Yes, Sotomayor may have some explaining to do, but I maintain that the Ricci decision, by itself, won’t be enough to prevent her confirmation. Neither will her past statements about being better able to make decisions in discrimination cases owing to her life experiences. Most people would agree with that — that judges do consider their own background when rendering decisions. Other Supreme Court justices have said as much in various different ways and at different times.

    If you’re talking about the Waxman/Markey Climate and Energy bill, which I think you are, drafts of the bill have been available for lawmakers to review since early May, with markups coming out of committee and provided on a regular basis. It’s not at all like the whole thing was dumped on Home members’ desks at the last minute. The whole bill with an audit trail of amendments is available at

  7. You are probably right, but her decision regarding Ricci has to be troubling. Racism works in both directions, and nobody wins with quotas.

    Re: Waxman/Markey. Available does not mean they read it, which is the crux of my problem with it and them. It is their job, for crying out loud! They should necessarily be experts on it. Or at least familiar with the majority of it. Likewise with the Dodd health care bill: nobody has read it. I am slogging through it, and I can see why: it is like the old Marx Bros. contract skit (, obtuse and unintelligible.

    How about a nice, plain English version for everyone? At least for getting everyone up to speed. Including our fine representatives… 😉

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