Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Review of American Patriots by Rick Santorum

As a disclaimer, Rick Santorum’s political views have rarely existed in lock step with my view of the world.
But American Patriots by Rick Santorum doesn’t read like the overtly rightward leaning book that I would’ve expected given Mr. Santorum’s record as a member of Congress and Presidential candidate.
American Patriots is a brief handbook that distills the stories of some lesser known Revolutionary War heroes down to just a few pages each. This format provides a brief background on these figures, while wetting the readers’ appetite to study history and learn more about our history, which I gather was Santorum’s intent.
On this score, Santorum scores a big victory, my only complaint is that this book goes by entirely too quickly, and left me wanting more.
I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an impartial review and the opinions expressed above are my own.

Welcome Back to Book Diplomacy

After several months away, i'm back!

In 2013, we're going to change the format of the blog just a little bit.

I've decided to focus primarily on history and political book reviews instead of analysis of the days headlines.

So with that said, hope everyone enjoys what they read.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Romney Picks Ryan: Another Sarah Palin Moment?

You’ll forgive me if Saturday morning I was more concerned with the Olympics and the raccoon we captured in the attic than Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate.
Some have asked the question rather hopefully: Is Paul Ryan as bad a pick as Sarah Palin was for John McCain four years ago. Brace yourselves, I’m about to give a very confused answer…
Paul Ryan has more experience than Sarah Palin having served in Congress for six terms. So give experience to Mr. Ryan.
Mr. Ryan can also articulate his position on any number of issues, which should prevent a replay of the Palin-Biden debate where she kept cycling back to energy policy, which turned off a Republican friend of mine.
On these two scores, Paul Ryan is no Sarah Palin.
But Ryan does have one potentially ominous thing in common with Sarah Palin. He has inspired a great amount of excitement and energy among the conservative base. Romney perhaps needed to shore up his support among conservatives, so mission accomplished.
Trouble is, there’s really no in-between with the Ryan budget plan, your either madly in love with it, or it stirs feelings of contempt within your soul. Much like Sarah Palin.
Base picks are great for the base, not so great when they create a fury among 30-40% of the population. It will be interesting to see how the Romney campaign deals with the Paul Ryan effect.

Mitt Romney: Man in Shadows

My understanding of the 2012 Presidential Election was that it was supposed to be a contest between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.
With the selection of Paul Ryan, it feels as though Romney has perhaps unintentionally pushed himself into the shadows of his own presidential campaign, which is never a good sign.
I get that both sides are excited about Paul Ryan for good or bad, but I’m almost expecting Romney to raise his hands up as if to say “I’m right here.”
Again, its’ never a great sign when the VP overshadows the candidate.
As a matter of fact, it would probably help Romney to be out-front because he wants people to vote for Mitt Romney and his policies, rather than against Paul Ryan.
Paul Ryan only becomes president in the event something happens to Mitt Romney. People don’t vote for vice presidents, but they can cause them to vote against presidents and presidential candidates.

Linda McMahon: Political Force or Political Farce?

Former professional wrestling executive Linda McMahon won the Republican Senate Primary in Connecticut on Tuesday night. Does this victory indicate the political strength of Linda McMahon or the relative weakness of the Republican Party in Connecticut?
The Republican Party in Connecticut is in sad shape, if they are willing to give Linda McMahon another shot at a political office.
Sure, she has business expieriance having been the CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), but the problem is that she was the CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment.
WWE is a lightning rod because of its’ perceived nature as a low brow and carny form of entertainment. Years’ worth of tasteless WWE skits featuring nudity and crude humor combined with the out of ring scandals that have plagued the company.
The Democratic opponent will have a ready made campaign ad in five minutes.
The likely outcome here is a double digit Linda McMahon loss and a pile of wrestling fans praying she never tries again.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Romney VP pick: Putting States in Play

Come back tomorrow for discussion of Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan, This was written before the selection was made.

There has been some discussion that Mitt Romney would pick a Rob Portman, Marco Rubio, or Paul Ryan in order to put the states of Ohio, Florida, and Wisconsin into play.

While all three figures enjoy great popularity within their home states, Romney has to be that he doesn’t make a pick that puts a state out of play. He doesn’t have far to go for a blue print on how to accomplish that feat…SEE PALIN, SARAH 2008.

I’d be particularly worried about picking Paul Ryan because of the coverage he’s gotten for his budget plans.

There aren’t a ton of states in play. Making a safe pick like Rob Portman may be the better way to go instead of a firebrand like Paul Ryan because he could provide a boost in the state of Ohio and has unquestioned experience as a law-maker.

He may not be as exciting as a Rubio or Ryan, but excitement isn’t necessarily what Romney needs.Romney needs to coherently explain how his policy is different from President Obama. Who the VP is should be the least of Romney’s problems.

Image vs. Hype: An Olympic Debate

Lolo Jones has been the subject of a great deal of hype in the lead up to and during the Olympic Games. Without a doubt, she’s a very beautiful, strong, and accomplished young woman. She has a compelling story---growing up in poverty, star track athlete at LSU, and heartbreakingly lost a gold medal four years previous. She’s even made headlines for her decision to wait until marriage for sex.

If I had a daughter, I’d want her to be like Lolo Jones—with principles and an unrelenting work ethic. But this post-Olympic debate that has erupted following her Olympic performance is bordering on ridiculous.

Jones finished fourth in the 100 meter hurdles the other night, behind two much less hyped athletes. Then the firestorm started.

Her teammates who finished second and third were much less hyped and seemed to take a shot at Jones. While this was headline news for some, I don’t see the big deal. How would you feel if you won an Olympic medal and all anyone wanted to talk about was the person who finished forth?

Yet we can’t entirely blame Lolo Jones either. America is a very photogenic society—. Media, sponsors’, and the like gravitate to certain athletes who they think will help sell their products or embody certain images that they find desirable.

Should we vilify an athlete because they have big sponsorship and don’t have to have bake sales and car washes just to make the trip to the Olympics?

Call it another media flame up.