Published by Andre Showell on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 7:58 am.
(Photos from left: Kristoffer Tripplaar-Pool/Getty Images, Edward Linsmier/Getty Images)
By Andre Showell
Recent moves by both President Obama and Republican hopeful Mitt Romney are making the distinctions between the two candidates crystal clear. In what seems to be an effort to appeal to their base constituents, the campaigns are intensifying efforts to clarify exactly where their candidates stand. Are they liberal or conservative?
Mitt Romney’s announcement that Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan is his pick for vice president was aimed at showing Romney in a different, perhaps brighter, GOP light. The former Massachusetts governor was widely believed to be a moderate in a climate that has forced many elected officials to hop the fence and pick a side. The selection of Paul Ryan, a fiscal conservative bar none, may help to put questions about Romney’s conservative chops to bed.
Obama, amid criticism about his own liberal street cred as it relates to same-sex marriage, gave a televised interview clarifying his position of support. He had expressed his opposition to the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy and strengthened hate crimes legislation within the Department of Justice in the past, but he felt the need to dispel any doubts about exactly where his own opinions lie in regard to same sex marriage.
As we march toward Nov. 6, I wonder if this is only the start of attempts to draw distinctions between the candidates in a race that seems to be providing voters with clearer choices.
Published by Andre Showell on Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 6:42 pm.
(Photo: Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
By Andre Showell
There’s been a lot of talk about political gaffes this election season and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is bearing the brunt of the criticism. During his international tour, he has taken a number of hits as he dips into the sometimes turbulent waters of diplomacy as a viable contender in the upcoming race to be beat President Barack Obama. But are his remarks truly gaffes, or just truths that are best left unspoken?
First, there was Romney’s statement about the Olympics which sent shockwaves throughout Europe. Romney reportedly said in passing that he believed that London may not have been ready to host the Olympics from a security standpoint. The British press took immediate offense, deeming Romney to be: “Mitt the Twit.”
Romney also came under attack after infuriating critics when he attributed the economic disparity between Israel and Palestine to differences in “culture.” They wrote off the comments as insensitive and offensive.
There are plenty of questions surrounding whether his remarks were actually gaffes, or simply misguided statements. The British media had been debating Great Britain’s Olympic readiness for weeks before Romney’s statements. And cultural differences between the Israelis and Palestinians are both widely known and agreed upon even by the Israelis and the Palestinians.
And while Romney may have provided his opponents with plenty of ammunition to question his diplomatic readiness, I can’t say that there are lots of people who are questioning the truthfulness of his statements.
Published by Andre Showell on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 6:00 pm.
(Photo: EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS /LANDOV)
By Andre Showell
Despite the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling that let stand the core provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the contentious fighting and partisan rancor is showing no signs of stopping now. Almost immediately following the ruling, conservatives dispatched a cadre of surrogates consisting of governors from red states, all singing from the same political songbook. They appear resolute in their conviction that the Affordable Care Act is bad policy and they will do all they can to nullify its effectiveness.
Oklahoma’s Attorney General Scott Pruitt also took part in the red state upheaval that followed the ruling. He issued a statement on behalf of the Republican Attorneys General Association that delivered an ominous warning: “We’re disappointed the Court upheld the individual mandate, and find it disturbing that they did not place a limit on the power of the federal government to control the lives of Americans. But, the battle isn’t over.”
In a brazen act of defiance to the decision of the highest court in the land, anti-Obamacare die-hard Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) suggests that the health-care law is destructive, unsustainable and unconstitutional. His office sent out a press statement urging governors not to put the health-care law into effect. The press release reads: “I urge every governor to stop implementing health-care exchanges that would help implement the harmful effects of this misguided law. Americans have loudly rejected this federal takeover of health care, and governors should join with the people and reject its implementation.”
The issue brings attention to what could amount to a loophole that Obamacare opponents can use to their advantage. There is apparently no punishment process in place that would compel states to actually move forward with implementation if they choose not do so. But on the other hand, if states chose to simply do nothing, the federal government still has the authority to step in and take over.
The idea of enacting the Affordable Care Act sounds like a simple idea on the surface. But the multitude of requirements and provisions may give states that disagree with the law legal cover that could mean more challenges and courtroom battles in the future.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told Fox News, “We’ll look to the fall and if there’s a new president, and a new Senate that’s part of a Congress that’s willing to change that, the next step is just political.”
Published by Andre Showell on Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm.
By Andre Showell
You should never judge a book by its cover. I know it’s a cliché but it’s also the plain old truth. I learned that lesson this week after I traveled with colleagues to the Republican National Committee Convention walk-through in Tampa, Florida. In addition to checking out the lay of the land for the upcoming convention, we also had a chance to spend some quality time with some of the movers and shakers behind the Republican Party.
James Davis, the director of communications and chief spokesman for the RNC Convention, was one of the most engaging. Beneath the pinstripe suits and wingtip shoes lies an interesting story that separates this husband and father of two from any preconceived notions many people have about Republicans.
While James is a vocal supporter of Republican ideals, he has a personal journey that was far from typical. He grew up in Vidalia, Georgia, in a poor neighborhood. He said his was the only white family in a Black community, so he has never been afraid to stand out. His experience also explained the apparent ease with which he seemed to connect with our all-African American delegation of staffers.
James explained that he, like many in the Black community, is the product of teen parents and was raised by his grandparents. And despite a less-than-ideal upbringing, he worked his way through school by waiting tables, until his fate changed. During one of his shifts, he waited on a customer who changed the course of his life. That customer happened to be a former assistant secretary of defense who ended up helping him land an internship at the Department of Defense during the Bush administration. James took the offer, got a loan to cover his expenses and was eventually hired as a researcher.
And the rest is history. He ascended the ranks of the GOP and today plays a key role in the election bid of the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney.
This political operative knows more about the needs and concerns of the struggling and underserved than I ever will. And while he knows what it’s like to live life along the margins of society, when opportunity knocked, he was ready to open the door.