From: CFM Insider Online: A GOP Trend-Setter, 9/26/07
"For those wondering what it might take to elect a Republican as President, or even to a statewide office, look no further than Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who oversees California, the country south of Oregon posing as a state.
A quick click to Schwarzenegger's official Web site tells the story:
• There is a picture of the governor addressing the United Nations about climate change, touting what he calls the world's first low carbon fuel standard for vehicles sold in California.
• Standing in front of a reservoir, the governor announces a $9 billion plan to upgrade and expand the state's water infrastructure, increasing above and below ground storage capacity, taking steps to restore habitat and protect water
quality, and boosting water supply reliability.
• After a 2-year slog through the California Assembly, Schwarzenegger beams in front of cameras as he signs legislation providing incentives to place an additional million solar panels on the roofs of California homes and businesses to generate 3,000 megawatts of electricity - and give refunds on their electric bills to consumers with solar panels.
• Schwarzenegger poses with former President Bill Clinton as they discuss steps to reform health care, a topic that has its own separate section on the governor's Web site, along with one for Maria Shriver, his media-genic wife and First Lady of California.
This isn't the kind of material you expect to see from President Bush - or a lot of other Republican elected officials. More typical of Republican politics, Schwarzenegger also talks up his commitment to charter schools, workers compensation reform and crime victim rights. But what dominates his Web site, and apparently his policy focus, are issues related to the environment, sustainability and livability.
To someone such as Schwarzenegger with an eye to winning elections, this is the stuff of winners.
To Oregonians with long memories, this isn't so surprising. Oregon once boasted Republican leaders, some of them fairly conservative in their viewpoint, who spent a lot of their political capital on similar issues. Governor Tom McCall is best known for crusading to protect the Willamette Valley and clean up the river that gives it life. Senator Mark Hatfield designated large tracts of wilderness areas in Oregon's national forests. Governor Vic Atiyeh has stood with former Democratic governors to defend Oregon's land-use system.
McCall, Hatfield and Atiyeh stood for many other things as well - for example, higher education investment. But their most distinguishing quality is they won elections - and re-elections.
So has Schwarzenegger.
His Web site is polished and festooned with great photographic images and video clips. It rivets attention to his achievements and policy priorities. It also reflects a political persona who has taken the time to think about how he is positioned in the political galaxy and has the ability to showcase legacy-sized priorities.
Schwarzenegger seems to brush aside posturing for the benefit of his political base - he doesn't harangue about undocumented workers, for example. Instead, he gives the appearance of a man of action determined to wrestle with the giant issues of our time - water, clean air and affordable health care.
Undoubtedly critics can find fault, but it is hard to quarrel with the aura he creates. The Governator stands above the blue state/red state fault line. He assumes the role of leading his state into the future, setting an example of how a Republican might offer to lead an entire country."
RAD: Governor Rambo spent most of his first term trying to appease the base of the GOP and getting absolutely nowhere and in the process coming close to being a first term only governor. Then he woke up and began to be more collaborative with the Democratic legislature and the mood music in Sacramento changed. As I said regarding our presidential candidates the key issue is what kind of "learning curve" do they have. Governor Rambo clearly "learned" the old fashioned way and reinvented himself, much as Bill Clinton did after '95.
Schwarzenegger ran as an iconoclastic outsider Republican using a blend of right wing rhetoric combined with 21st century populism and then tried governing by bashing the Ds. After being hammered he switched his tactics and has in effect governed like a Democrat. So the lesson for Rs - run to your base in the primary season; then to the middle in the general election and govern like a progressive! Aside from Rudy G all of the GOP presidential candidates seems hostage to the right wing of the GOP. They have no learning curve!
From: CFM Insider Online: A GOP Trend-Setter, 9/26/07
Corporate leaders always have opinions about how we can prepare a workforce to meet the challenges of a global economy. In Thursday's Oregonian Rick Warren, senior state executive for IMB, offers his insights in an article entitled "Changing the way we think about learning." Warren trots out some familiar speaking points: a commitment to life long learning; being ready to change careers 5 to 10 times in a lifetime; and creating compacts between communities, employers and workers.
There's nothing new in any of these suggestions. They have been the focus of national studies like A Nation at Risk (1980) to America's Choice (1990) over the last 40 years. Corporate America through such sounding boards as the Carnegie Foundation or in Oregon via the Educational Act of the 21st Century (1991) has been beating on this drum endlessly. In Oregon consortium of foundations has led the charge under the auspices of the Chalkboard Project. The focus is mostly on increasing school accountability through high stakes testing such as NCLB.
But Mr. Warren lets the cat out of the bag when he says the following: while employers cannot guarantee lifelong employment they should invest in employee development. But he then goes on to say "...In return, employees must take on greater responsibility for their career development, wellness and community involvement..." He argues that communities must also step up to foster "an adaptive highly skilled work force." He suggests business and community leaders should team up with college professors "...to shape the curriculum...to...the needs of local employers..."
However, nowhere in this op ed piece does Mr. Warren suggest that corporate America or Oregon should step up to the financial challenges of creating a highly skilled work force. The concept of investing in K-12 through increasing corporate taxes is never mentioned. Why the silence in a state where the minimum corporate tax is $10 per year! One can only guess that Mr. Warren believes that for the "corporates" there is a free lunch, a public willing to tax themselves. Aside from Portland's very blue voters, there is little evidence of such will in Oregon.
Another irony is that he notes that wages in Oregon are 11% lower than the national average! With such a disincentive in the marketplace Oregon will face a brain drain of our best and brightest seeking their futures elsewhere. So, why doesn't Mr. Warren give us a clue how to address the "wage gap"? That's a variable corporate Oregon controls, not K-12 teachers or college professors. Instead Mr. Warren implicitly passes the buck as is often the case by CEOs who increasingly are absentee Oregonians just burnishing their careers in a brief stay here.
But if Mr. Warren is truly serious, he's missed a major alternative and one that has worked throughout our nation's history. The best education for preparing young men and women for the workplace is a liberal education which focuses on creating a commitment to lifelong learning, interdisciplinary approaches to learning and collaboration. Good universities like Pacific University and Portland State University help prepare their students for the workforce by challenging them to learn across the curriculum as well as in the field through internships and civic engagement.
Mr. Warren - where did you attend high school and college? Why are you so clueless about what really matters as opposed to rehashing the "party line" of corporate America? Oh, and one final question: when was the last time you taught a K-12 class or a taught at one of Oregon's excellent public or private universities? I've spent 37 year plus in the groves of academe as a professor not including my studies at Whitman and the University of Minnesota. What are your credentials for making these suggestions?
Mr. Warren, next time just don't talk the talk, walk the walk! I don't presume to have the expertise to manage IBM, how dare you assume you can do the job of a principal or college president. Why don't you work on the wage gap in Oregon which is closer to your skill set and expertise, Mr. Warren! And while you are at it, go to Salem and demand that your company and others like it pay their fair share of taxes to support K-12 and higher ed systems to "invest" in their future employees!
NPR this a.m. had a story on the budget crisis in the state of Michigan. The Democratic governor is facing off with a Republican legislature over a classic budget battle. The state is facing a 2 billion dollar deficit. The Democrats want to raise taxes to bridge the gap and to save programs, the GOP in their typical "no new taxes" mantra following the lead of Grover Norquist wants to shrink government down to the size that you can drown it in the bath tub.
This should sound familiar to Oregonians. That's exactly the strategy of House Republicans used in Salem toward the end of the '07 session when a major low income housing bill, HB 3551, was sacrificed on the altar of the GOP's reluctance to tax the rich to help the poor. So from the states to the DC beltway GOP priorities are very clear, billions for the Military Industrial Complex, decreasing leftovers for the rest of us...
The GOP spin machine likes to accuse the Dems for playing "class" warfare politics, that's a big lie. The GOP has practiced "class" politics since Reagan was in power. To the neo-cons government is public enemy #1. That's what the "no new taxes" pledge means, no to taxing the "haves" to help the "have nots." Whether it's the Bush refusal to expand SCHIPS to help children get health insurance or the politics of lowering budgets in human services from mental health to veterans benefits, the GOP plays the "Scrooge" card.
Stevie Wonder and Tiger Woods are in a restaurant having dinner.
Woods turns to Wonder and says, "How's the singing career going"?
Stevie Wonder replies, "Not too bad. How's your golf"?
Woods replies, "Not too bad, I've had some problems with my swing, but I think I've got that going right
Stevie says, "I always find that when my golf swing goes wrong, I need to stop playing for a while and not
think about it. Then, the next time I play, it seems to be all right."
Tiger says, "You play golf"?
Wonder says, "Oh, yes, I've been playing for years."
Woods says, "But you're blind! How can you play golf if you can't see?
Wonder replies, "I get my caddy to stand in the middle of the fairway and call to me. I listen for the sound
of his voice and play the ball toward him. Then, when I get to where the ball lands, the caddy moves to the
green or farther down the fairway and again, I play the ball toward his voice"
But how do you putt"? asks Woods.
"Well," says Stevie, "I get my caddy to lean down in front of the hole and call to me with his head on the
ground, and I just play the ball toward his voice."
Woods asks, "What's your handicap"?
Stevie says, "Well, I'm a scratch golfer."
Woods, incredulous, says, "We've got to play a round sometime."
Wonder replies, "Well, people don't take me seriously, so I only play for money, and never play for less than $10,000 a hole."
Woods thinks it over and says, "Okay, I'm all for that. When would you like to play"?
Stevie says, "Pick a night. "
Editor's Note: My blogging this past two weeks has been rather intermittent since I've been preoccupied with family matters. When one's 29 year old son is getting married in India and you are the only one "home alone" one's thoughts are other directed especially when you wake up at 6 a.m. in the morning hearing NPR talk about a tsunami bearing down on South Asia.
Fortunately the multiple earthquakes in Indonesia which caused the tsunami alerts did not repeat the 2004 disaster and my family was safe and sound and the wedding and related festivities went off like clockwork, thanks to the efficiency and caring of my son's Indian father and mother-in-law! So I'm playing catch-up with the news cycle over the last two weeks.
Barack Obama: Got this note from a close friend. From GE: "Ruth Marcus in today's Washington Post had an interesting article on the two Baracks, noting what you and I discussed last week about his speeches to different audiences [a very stirring speech to the SIEU and a rather policy wonkish speech to the Brookings folks]. She's very much disappointed in one of the Baracks and concludes her article with the question: Where's the audacity? (As opposed to where's the beef?) Sadly, I'm beginning to agree with her."
My response to GE: Sadly, running for office requires something akin to the "Texas two step" - one step forward, the next step backwards! At the end of the day our choices are for the person who we think (hopes) has the vision to take us in the right direction. Keep in mind in 1932 FDR ran on a "no new taxes pledge," but once in office he became a fast learner. Maybe that's the key in selecting between Barack, Hillary or John - who is the fastest learner AND who will remain accessible while assembling a brain trust around them to tackle the tough issues?
One thing is for certain - the GOP alternatives will not change the course that the nation is in. They will continue a failed policy in Iraq and beyond; they will pander to the right wing base of the GOP on a host of social issues from abortion to immigration; and they will cater to the Wall Street crowd over the interests of Mainstreet Americans on issues like health care. Let's keep our eyes on the prize, the Democratic option is the only lever to pull in November '08.
For now my Barack for President bumper sticker will stay on my car. But I concur with my friend, one hopes for "audacity" along with clarity in thinking the issues that confront us from Iraq to health care, from social security to homeland security. But in November '08 RAD as a "yellow dog Demo" will cast his vote to throw the GOP bums out to keep hope alive!
Schooling in Oregon: Today's Oregonian headlines two big local stories focusing on schools. One talks about how some Oregon kids are falling down and others are exceeding past scores on the NCLB score sheet. But the data points in both cases are so close, up or down from year to year, that those familiar with statistics would term the differences to be "within the margin of error." So what's the big point?
The other big story is the flip flopping of major high school athletes in the metro area from school to school in quest of a winning program! We know that colleges recruit blue chip high school athletes, however this game of "gotcha" also happens in high school sports. My sports journalist son in Seattle has told me similar stories about recruiting in that state too. It's why some teams continually are at the top of the heap every year!
Growing up in Roseburg, Oregon in the '50s when RHS teams were in the bottom of the heap, we always heard stories about how Medford or Marshfield would recruit out of towns athletes by getting their fathers a job in a local lumber mill. Apparently in today's high school culture you don't even have to change addresses! It's all up to the parents willingess to help their budding star and to coaches doing a "Clinton" - i.e. don't ask, don't tell.
In a culture of rampant narcissism and the cultivation of winning is everything why should any of this be a surprise? NCLB is a reductionist game where scores on a reading or math test presumably tells us all about the quality of the classroom, the teacher and the school. And on the field of dreams, it's all about whether team "A" wins the big game against the former #1 power house. Forget about the scoring hanky panky in the first case and the gamesmanship in the latter.
Ultimately, it's all about winning as the Supremes proved in '00 in Bush v. Gore. People who believe in truth setting us free or in the fun of the game (win or lose) are hopeless romantics! Didn't Vince Lombardi say that years ago? Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing? Nixon in '72 said ditto Vince and Bush in '00 punched the same card with the help of the referees! Hell we all know the "stars" get the calls in every sport.
The spin zone: If the Democrats are to win the presidency in '08 and increase their majorities in the House and Senate at the same time, they must have a message more edifying than simply "we're not the party of George W. Bush." They must be for something. Recent votes to down size the war in Iraq and SCHIPS are creating a clear line in the sand between the Ds and the Rs.
The GOP is unwilling to articulate an endgame in Iraq and only a minority of the party of Lincoln have empathy for millions of children without health coverage. But to make a Democratic sweep in '08 more than symbollic the Demos must win on the battlefiled of ideas, not merely getting out the vote (GOTV). This has been the strength of the GOP leading up to the Reagan years and beyond.
The GOP had "new" neo-con ideas which they marketed well and stood behind. The fact that they were the wrong values and the wrong policies for a majority of Americans is now very clear. But in politics like poker you must have a "winning hand" instead of relying on the bluff factor all the time. After 40 years in power until '94 the Democratic party got lazy winning on the line we're not the GOP. Since the Nixon era the GOP has won playing the "southern strategy" card. Now the question is what do the D's stand for?
Gary Hart's "new ideas" in '88 had a nice lilt to them, but as Fritz Mondale asked "where's the beef?" Hint: first let's get out of Iraq; then on the home front one should start with reforming our Kafkaesque health care system. As someone who is days away from hitting what the NYTimes calls the "near elderly" - the big 65 - the process that one goes through in signing up for Social Security and Medicare is anything but user friendly. Running the maize makes one scream "single payer" please!