Mike Klein Online

Cynthia Tucker Swings at Liz Cheney, Misses the Point

Cynthia Tucker doesn’t hold a seat in the United States Senate. She doesn’t have the power to call committee hearings to intimidate those who dare disagree with her. And she isn’t practicing her demagoguery in an era of widespread fear of an existential threat.  Nevertheless, she has slipped easily into the role of Joseph McCarthy.

Sound familiar?  Substitute “Liz Cheney” for “Cynthia Tucker” in the first sentence and you have the first paragraph of Tucker’s Atlanta Journal & Constitution column published Friday morning.  Tucker believes in the U.S. Constitution and free speech for anyone who agrees with Cynthia Tucker.

But if you are the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, Tucker is quick to pronounce that “like her father, Liz Cheney disrespects the U.S. Constitution” and is “utterly without decency, shame or principle.”  Liz Cheney is co-founder of Keep America Safe, an ultra-conservative organization that believes President Barack Obama is weak on national security.

Last week Keep America Safe posted an online video that asked Attorney General Eric Holder to identify seven Justice Department attorneys who had defended accused terrorists.  The video included an Investor’s Business Daily headline that asked, “DOJ: Department of Jihad?” and the narrator described the federal attorneys as the “Al-Qaeda 7.”

Cheney’s video was immediately controversial.  The presentation was heavily criticized by some conservatives and liberals who did not like the tone.  But lost in the aftermath was whether Cheney got the premise right.  Does she, does anyone out here have the right to know the identities and backgrounds of federal attorneys who defended accused terrorists?

I have no problem with attorneys who defend terrorist suspects.  Somebody will need to defend the 9/11 accused terrorists.  I also have no problem when someone insists we have a right to know names and backgrounds of Justice Department attorneys. This is the part of free speech guaranteed by the Constitution that apparently easily gets past Tucker.  FOX News reported the names soon after the video appeared on-line.

By using her Friday column to rail against Liz Cheney, daughter of the former Vice President, Tucker simply takes an easy shot against conservatives, who often are her targets.  It’s not like there wasn’t anything else to discuss.  This past week was full of Democratic disgrace.

Tucker could have focused on New York’s two congressmen, the self-important Charles Rangel and the utterly disgusting Eric Massa, who both plunged into disgrace.  Tucker might have inquired, “What did Nancy Pelosi know and when did she know it?”  But that would emphasize open wounds that liberals would rather see quickly closed.

Tucker might have written about how the White House will twist arms and make more deals to pass unpopular, extremely expensive health insurance legislation. Tucker might have told us what she thinks about Obama slipping federal control over college student loans into the health care bill.  Tucker might have written about the ongoing disintegration of diplomatic relations between Washington and Israel.   It’s not like there weren’t plenty of real things to discuss.

Instead, Tucker took the ideological easy shot against Liz Cheney without considering for one sentence whether the identification of those seven federal attorneys is a reasonable idea.  It is, but Tucker was more interested in trashing Dick Cheney and his daughter.

Using Tree Shears to Trim State Government

Get the tree shears.  Just about everyone thinks there are too many Georgia state government employees.  Candidates for governor are tripping over themselves in a rush to see who would lop off  the most state employees  like dogwood limbs.  The ones who don’t get lopped should have their blossoms trimmed in the form of reduced salaries and benefits. Early retirements could be forced onto highly compensated teachers and other public employees.

You can bet on layoffs and consolidations.  It will happen.  This is good.  Georgia will benefit by shrinking government, focusing on core missions, redefining the word “core” and eliminating what we do not need.  Remedial students in universities and two-year colleges are an example of what we do not need.  They belong in high school and GED programs.  We should end double dipping by employees who retire, take a pension and then sign back on as consultants, sometimes doing the very same job but getting paid twice.  That is unethical.

Early this week a Senate Budget Office task force that consisted of seven private sector executives will release new proposals to address the short-term budget shortfall, estimated at between $1 billion or more, with an eye ahead on expanded savings over five years.  Education, K-12 along with higher education, along with health care are between 75% and 80% of the state’s annual operating budget.  Cuts are coming.

Local school districts that sustained nearly $1 billion in budget cuts will be trimmed more. Education funding actually increased from about 55% to 58% of the state’s budget over the past couple fiscal years because non-education agencies left thousands of positions vacant and employees were required to take furlough days.

State government has gotten a tiny bit smaller.  The latest records show state employees declined by 3,874 persons, or 4.3%, during Fiscal 2009 compared to Fiscal 2008.  Full and part-time employees declined from 89,721 to 85,847. This statistic includes agencies, boards, authorities and commissions, but it does not include university system or local school district employees.  The 4.3% decline occurred as statewide unemployment soared to above 10%.

The Georgia state budget is a victim of declining revenue streams, rapidly expanding indigent and state employee health care costs and soon, significant reductions in federal stimulus dollars that will no longer flow from Washington to Atlanta.  This balancing act between revenue and expenditures will become more complicated should inflation become a major factor in the 2012 election year, as some economists already predict.

Three Challenges to America’s World Leadership

Newt Gingrich discussed three great challenges to America’s world leadership during a recent Atlanta Press Club luncheon at The Commerce Club.   Brief excerpts from his observations:

China and India: “I concluded several years back that my greatest obligation as a citizen was to try to help (future generations) inherit a country which is still the most creative, the most industrious and the most prosperous in the world.   If we’re not those things we will not be able to maintain our national security advantage. I see no virtue to trying to live in a world where we are a secondary player and the current Chinese dictatorship is the dominant power.”

Science: “Our best guess is that the next quarter century there will be four to seven times as much new science as there was in the last quarter century.  There are no models for this scale of change whether it affects energy or infrastructure materials or health or national security or cyber technology.  Every morning there are new things happening and 65% will be outside the U.S.  Trying to figure out how to cope with that means you want a very agile, continually adjusting, constantly improving system.”

Government: “It is fundamentally immoral to adopt policies which leave (future generations) with an enormous debt where they will pay more taxes for interest on the debt than they will pay for national security and a large part of the money will go to Saudi Arabia and China.  I think this is just an insane policy.  It’s not an Obama policy.  The last year of Bush was a total disaster.”

Quote of the Week

“Let me thank my dear friend Senator – Secretary Clinton. I almost said President Clinton!” – Michelle Obama at the State Department after an introduction by Hillary Clinton

Additional Resources

American Solutions, www.americansolutions.com

Cynthia Tucker Columns, www.blogs.ajc.com/cynthia-tucker

Keep America Safe, www.keepamericasafe.com

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March 14, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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