Jun 30, 2014

Jimmy Rhoda's Mistake Handled Right

It has now been almost a week since national headlines took notice of the 2nd District Republican Chairman Jimmy Rhoda and his comments about Hillary Clinton. Rhoda stated that Hillary would "probably get shot at the state line." The comment not only made national headlines, but also resulted in Rhoda stepping down from his post, and a quick distancing by candidates and Republicans across the state. Nobody ever said politics is nice and in politics when you mess up, you can expect that those who once laughed with you and loved you will suddenly distance themselves and grow silent. It is simply the nature of the beast.

The two things Jimmy Rhoda did in the wake of this controversy though show a positive character for the man. First, he said his comments were taken out of context. Based on the press' ever growing desire to sell stories full of hype, it's easy to see how that is most likely true. Rhoda is not a man who would be hiding behind a bush at the state line with his sniper rifle to take shots at the former first lady, former senator, and former secretary of state. Remember, just because you're a former, or even a has-been, you were still once somebody within the government. The Secret Service is still concerned about your well-being, at least to an extent. So, Rhoda knows better and as stated before he would never believe shooting someone is the right thing to do. Jimmy would not likely ever take aim at anyone regardless of their political position. The man simply is not that type of person. He is the type of person who is vocal, quick to speak, and a strong supporter of the Republican party.

The second thing Jimmy did was back away. This is the most important move because it is the one that allows the Arkansas Republican Party to move forward. It also allows candidates to move forward without this cloud. Regardless of whether the comment was taken out of context, Jimmy recognized that it could hurt the party. Rather than fight to keep his position, he bowed out and went silent. He's not running to reporters to "fix" the story, he's not fighting the party to keep his post, and he's not calling candidates demanding they defend him. Jimmy Rhoda, whatever people may think from the press, is doing something that Republicans have seen time-and-time again…he's showing class in the face of bad press.

The bottom line is Jimmy Rhoda made a mistake. He tried to correct it and he stepped down from his post to help the party. That's class. A lot of people wanted Doyle Webb to condemn the statement by Rhoda and to even condemn the man. Webb read the resignation and accepted the resignation. Webb and Rhoda both know something that those who want condemnation, including the Arkansas Democratic Party, do not know. People make mistakes. People make mistakes, they take responsibility and apologize, accept the consequences, and finally they move on. Webb and Rhoda accept this as finished, and they are right for doing it.

Jimmy Rhoda has been an extremely valuable member of the Republican Party of Arkansas. I have no doubt that as time goes he will continue that support and work. He will not likely be the 2nd District Chairman again, but that's okay because we all can not be District Chairs or there would be nobody to work in the trenches. I personally applaud Rhoda and Webb for their handling of a difficult situation. I also have to wonder how different the outcome might have been if Rhoda had been a Democrat; however, we will not likely know that because negative statements from a Democrat do not gain as much press as those from a Republican.

Jun 16, 2014

Curtis Coleman, John Cowart, and Beth Anne Rankin: Why they still matter to Arkansas Republicans

The state is dotted with politicians who have failed to obtain their goals for public service. They come from all ranks of life and are too numerous to name in a short article. Most of them simply fade back into private life after a loss and after a long campaign trail. Some of them pick back up and campaign for a different office, and some of them simply become the background voices crying out in the wilderness for other issues and candidates. Curtis Coleman, John Cowart and Beth Anne Rankin are three such politicians who have transitioned into those voices crying in the wilderness.

Curtis Coleman lost his bid recently for Arkansas Governor. Almost from the start of Curtis’ two year campaign people were saying, “I like Curtis, but he can’t win.” Those people did not seem to have any certain reason that Curtis could not win; they simply said he couldn’t do it. Curtis had already lost one campaign for the U.S. Senate, and then built a Constitutional organization to spread information about the origins of the Constitution. Over two years ago he leaped into a run for Arkansas Governor and faced an uphill battle from the start.

John Cowart, a detective with the Texarkana Arkansas Police force at the time, felt the calling to run for Congress. He ran in the primaries against Beth Anne Rankin and Tom Cotton. Cotton won that race beating both Rankin and Cowart by a good margin. John found himself paying off campaign debts and assessing his life. He has since moved into a position with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Beth Anne Rankin spent time working with Governor Mike Hucakbee’s office before starting her own company. In her second bid for the fourth district Congressional office she found herself defeated by newcomer Tom Cotton. She had constantly campaigned on the ideas of bringing the country into financial stability and reminding the citizens that the Congress has the purse strings and controls spending. After her loss she returned to her production company in Magnolia, Arkansas.

Curtis, John, and Beth Anne all share two things. First, they have all lost their bids for important, political post. However, the second thing they share is perhaps more important than the first. They share an ability to reach people.

Curtis Coleman built one of the largest, grass roots campaigns the state had ever seen. He had call stations in almost every county, he had supporters around the state and he worked to spread not only the Curtis Coleman for Governor message, but also the message of a conservative Arkansas Republican Party. The impact he has had is still being felt around the state as he works with other Republican candidates to ensure election in November.

John Cowart has taken his voice to the Fourth District meetings where he has helped impact policies and continues to spread the Republican message. John has the ability to speak to anyone about almost any topic and continues to inspire young people to campaign and strive for offices where they can serve the people of Arkansas.

Beth Anne Rankin continues through her business to touch young people’s hearts, but she can also be seen at most Republican meetings around the state. She has the ability to stand and deliver inspiring speeches, motivate people, and reach out as the public figure that Facebook and other online organizations continue to call her across the Internet.

Curtis, John, and Beth Anne still matter to the Republican Party of Arkansas. Not only do they have the ability to speak at events or for candidates, they have the experience of having run campaigns, of having traveled a good portion of the state, and of having reached out to the people of Arkansas during some stressful times. The party needs them. The party needs them to stand up, support candidates, continue their work, and reach out to young people across the state. The impact they can and do have can be tremendous for candidates, the party and the state. And, who knows, in the near future, we may need them to step up once again and run for an important office. The qualities of honesty, integrity, and hope is something we should all be looking for in any candidate that runs for office, and these three have an abundance of that to share.

Jun 4, 2014

Dealing with Terrorist and the Consequences for the World

Nobody would be surprised if Republicans were the only ones yelling about Obama’s violation of U.S. law in the recent prisoner exchange. After all, Republicans would yell, and for the most part Democrats would say they are all racist because they don’t like Obama. However, not only are Republicans upset, top Democrat Congress members are stating that Obama broke the law. They are upset too. Europe is being fairly quiet about the whole matter. In fact, do a quick search on the Internet and you’ll only find a few diplomats openly expressing concern. Recent polls show that at least 84% of Americans feel this was a bad move that will encourage further hostage taking according to http://americanpowerblog.blogspot.com/2014/06/poll-84-percent-say-bergdahl-deal-will.html .

84% concerned about the move, Democrats such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein who “claimed she’s been kept in the dark since 2012” according to http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/03/obama-shut-out-congress-for-2-years-about-bergdahl-deal-key-senator-says.html and Republicans are concerned. Everyone seems to be expressing concern, but nobody seems to be acting on those concerns. Ultimately whether Congress decides to do something or not, will set the standard for which future Presidents rule. Imagine a world where the President could simply decide because he has a pen and phone he doesn’t need Congress….oh yeah. Further imagine a world where the President decides WE don’t need Congress. What if, with the stroke of a pen and telephone call to the military, the President could simply disband Congress, declare himself ruler and take over the country. You think that sounds like a movie or a far away third world country? You had better look again- the President just exchanged five top Taliban leaders for a private. I am not belittling the private’s life in the least, but historically speaking most Americans do not want to be pawns in hostage trading games. After the Iran Hostage Crisis and long before an easy, searchable Internet, there was one of the hostages being interviewed on ABC. He stated, “We kept waiting to hear American bombers flying overhead.” In other words, he didn’t want to be a pawn, he wanted the U.S. to bomb Iran, a move that would have likely ended with the death of those hostages. It’s been a long-standing tradition. We don’t negotiate with terrorist. But, apparently we do now because President Obama decided by himself without Congress that we do. Simply put, he no longer needs Congress.

While we wait for Congress to act, which is often like waiting to watch a polar ice cap melt, we must consider the immediate ramifications of this President’s actions. Here is a break down of things Americans must consider:
1. U.S. military forces around the world are now the targets for any terrorist organization needing to invoke a prisoner exchange. If an organization has leaders, followers, or friends captured by the United States or allies, then terrorist will target U.S. military forces to take prisoner in the hope of having an exchange.
2. Enjoy that world trip you’re planning to take! That’s right, the minute you pull out your passport and show that you’re a United States Citizen, you’ve increased your chances that you’ll be used as a hostage exchange as well. That’s right, terrorist no longer have to videotape you having your head cut off and send it back to America. Now they can keep you, starve you, beat you, humiliate you all with the hope of being able to exchange you for one of their own. If by some reason you’re not important enough to the President to have a prisoner exchange conducted, they can still videotape your head being cut off and send it back to the country.
3. Our allies are now endangered. They will be collateral damage if a terrorist decides to take Americans. Say an organization decides to take Americans off a British Airline. Well, Great Britain does not negotiate with terrorist, so they won’t need those citizens to trade. They can simply kill British and other national citizens all because there is an American on board that could be traded. That will make you popular on the airline trips!
4. Finally, top-ranking Congressional members, top-ranking military persons, and business leaders will be the best targets of all for terrorist. The view will be if they can get five Taliban leaders for a private, what can they get for a Congress member, or an officer, or perhaps millionaire business owner? The terrorist will have stars in their eyes like they are shopping in a terrorist discount store.

The bottom line is easily seen in the celebrations by the Taliban. They are calling this a victory, and to be blunt they are right. They have managed to force the United States to give back five of their leaders, come to the table, and negotiate with a non-country-in fact a terrorist organization, and all they have had to give in return is one private who appears to have went AWOL and walked over to them. Unfortunately, the Taliban is 100% correct-they won this one. Finally, to leave the reader with one last thought, as if the thought of the Taliban beating the U.S. is not bad enough, how about Feinstein. Because she disagreed with the President, Republicans deserve to know….does this mean she’s a racist now?

Jun 1, 2014

Terrorist and The United States: Open for Negotiations

There’s no denying that Americans should celebrate the return of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, but the process in which he was released leaves unanswered questions.  The President announced the return of Bergdahl surrounded by a father and mother that we are certain are relieved at the least and most likely happy to have their son coming home.  While Americans should be giving Obama and his staff the good old knuckle-bump for the work, it seemed to be almost immediately overshadowed by what might have been done wrong.

So, to avoid a constant bash the Obama Administration, let us stop and look for a moment at the positive aspect of this deal.  First, and foremost, regardless of circumstances, an American soldier is coming home.  There is no denying this is good news.  In a nation where we still have missing and unaccounted soldiers going back to Vietnam, Korea, World War II and even World War I, knowing that this young man will not be among those lost forever is great news.  So, kudos to Obama and company for the work in this area.  It is also nice to see the President with the soldier’s family, encouraging them in the national spotlight.  It is further nice to know that we will not have to house or feed five prisoners anymore on the U.S. tax dollar.

Ok - Enough feel good - now let us take a moment to question some things that Americans at large, and both Democrats and Republicans should be questioning in Congress.  First, why is this President being allowed to run around Congress?  Law requires that Congress receive a 30-day notice of any prisoners being moved, exchanged, or taken out of Guantanamo.  It does not allow the President to do this and then tell Congress later he did it.  It has already been said that time was sensitive and that this had to be done quickly so there was no time to notify Congress in advance.  Why?  Bergdahl has been held since 2009.  That is five years in captivity and suddenly it was vital to do this exchange immediately, again why?   The Taliban prisoners have been held for no telling how long with various dates of capture we are sure, but many of them have been there throughout most of the war.  Again, this urges the question of why Congress could not get a 30-day notice as required by law?  Even if the President had told Congress he wanted to do it now, they could have said, “Yes, Mr. President, we’ll accept this as notice.  Please move ahead with your plans” at any point after being notified.  Naturally, there are already rumors that “key” members were notified, but then we have to question that these “key” members were, and were they all Democrats who support Obama?  The facts at this point at least, appear to point to clear violation of U.S. law by the President-an item that the mainstream media should be yelling about across the television stations, radio stations, newspapers, and the Internet.  

The next major concern becomes the trade itself.  The United States just negotiated with terrorist.   Read that line again, “The United States just negotiated with terrorist.”  There has been a long-standing refusal to negotiate with terrorist going back to at least the Carter Administration.  Carter did not negotiate, Reagan did not, Bush did not, Clinton did not, and Bush did not.  So where is the media uproar?  More importantly, why are we as Americans not in an uproar?  President Obama and his administration just set a new standard for the United States.  While most of our allies do not negotiate with terrorist, while it is frowned on by most Americans, and while we have not negotiated before, we suddenly have a new standards all thanks to President Obama.  We now negotiate with terrorist.  

Finally, and likely the worst part of the concerns we should have, is those five terrorist.  We just released five terrorists back into the world.  These are the type of men who blow our military members up with children and bombs, they attack our military with roadside bombs, and further they prepare, plan, and initiate terrorist attacks like the ones we have seen in the United States - Remember September 11?  That is right, these are the type of men who would obtain an airplane, and send it into a building full of civilians simply because they want to send a message!  We did not exchange one person for one-person….no, we gave them five of their leaders.  Consider that again “Five of their leaders.”   This means we handed back to the terrorist organization five individuals who plan, train, and prepare their volunteers to start the terrorist attacks.  

Hopefully Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl will return to the United States, reunite with his family (despite their questionable tweets), and receive what he deserves for being a POW for all these years.  We are happy to see him return.  Hopefully, Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl will not wake up one day to the realization that the five terrorists given in exchange for his freedom have become the masterminds behind another September 11 styled attack.  Hopefully, he will not feel the blood of thousands of Americans was spilled for his release.  Hopefully….