Political Thanksgiving Day

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(Danville, California)

As we all gather to be thankful this week, I wonder what our top politicians are thankful for this year. Here’s my list, and I’m checkin’ it twice:

Barack Obama – “Thankful for the Recession” – Of course, he’s not really thankful for bad economic times; but the timing made him the next U.S. President. The polls were dead even until Wall Street collapsed on or around September 18. Getting us out of this money mess will be key to his reelection, so mark Thanksgiving Day, 2012, on your calendar.

Joe Biden – “Thankful for His Experience” – Biden bombed as a Presidential candidate in Iowa, which stunned me. He was hands-down the smartest, most experienced person onstage. But the “been there, done that” attitude of the public toward U.S. politics doomed him (and later Hillary Clinton, too!) However, Biden’s depth of experience made him a solid pick for VP to counter Obama’s lack of experience. Like it or not, Biden is the Dick Cheney of 2008.

Sarah Palin – “Thankful for Her Legs” – No not THOSE legs, people! Her political legs! At 44, she has a promising future. Finish two terms as Governor of Alaska and make a successful run for the U.S. Senate, and she’s on the road to the White House. People who underestimate this woman and her appeal are making a huge mistake. Just remember 1964, when Barry Goldwater was defeated and people said the conservative movement was dead. Two words in 1980: Ronald Reagan. Three words in 2016? Perhaps, Sarah Palin.

Hillary Clinton – “Thankful for Her International Name” – Everybody around the world knows the Clintons. Biden was far more qualified for Secretary of State, but in many places outside the U.S. borders, he’s unknown, despite being Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. On the other hand, instant name recognition gives Hillary instant credibility. Will she measure up? It remains to be seen.

Bill Clinton – “Thankful for Her International Name, the Sequel!” – Yes, he’s even better known overseas than his wife, but not by much. Her name helps Bill's name in his global initiative and with their collective bottom line; but does it help Obama? Stay tuned!

Mark Begich – “Thankful for His Convictions” – No not his OWN convictions, but the criminal convictions of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK). Begich, the Mayor of Anchorage, won after the veteran Stevens was convicted of seven felonies right before the election.

Tom McClintock – “Thankful for the Constitution” – State Sen. McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks), is California’s most fiery conservative. He lives near Los Angeles; but, pending a recount, he has won a Congressional district that runs from Sacramento to the Oregon border by just a few hundred votes. How? Well, the Constitution requires only that House members reside in the state they represent, not the specific Congressional district. McClintock, who is great on camera, could be a real rising GOP star in Washington. He’s got a solid touch of Reagan in him. Watch out!

John McCain – “Thankful to be an American” – Of all the people I have covered in thirty years of political reporting, none ever demonstrated his love of country more than McCain. I’ve observed him and covered him for sixteen years, and I feel I know him on a more personal level than almost any other politician I’ve ever worked with. I also got to know some of his POW cellmates, including Tom Moe, Orson Swindle and Sam Johnson. Whether or not you agreed with McCain on the issues, you're unlikely ever to see another candidate with such fierce love of country, independence, and courage. God bless and keep this American hero and all his fellow heroes this Thanksgiving week.

Mark Curtis – “Thankful to Have a Front-Row Seat to the Campaign” – Wow, what a ride! From Des Moines on January 2, to the conventions in Denver and St. Paul, to Election Day in LA, and all the stops in between, 2008 was the “road trip” of a lifetime, for which I am eternally thankful!

We are not done yet! Keep checking in at!

Forget the Senators, How About the Replacements?

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(Danville, California)

There is intrigue in the U.S. Senate these days, and I am not talking about the two remaining seats that are undecided in Minnesota and Georgia.

The Governors of Illinois, New York and Delaware are wrestling with whom to choose replacing Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.

Let’s start with the soon to be Vice-president. Biden was grooming his son Beau to be his heir apparent. Beau, who wants the job, is currently serving a tour of duty in Iraq with the Delaware National Guard. He is also Delaware’s Attorney General. With concerns about nepotism, there may be a temporary replacement until 2010, when the young Biden is fully expected to run.

In New York, it’s already a free-for-all. Governor David Patterson was in San Francisco this weekend. On Friday night, just before delivering a speech to the N.A.A.C.P. here, Mr. Paterson told the “New York Times” that 10 to 20 people had already contacted him about taking Mrs. Clinton's place. "I would say it's not a shy and retiring group of people who would like to serve in the Senate," he told the paper. "It's almost distracting me from trying to close the very severe deficit of nearly $15 billion in New York."

While Gov. Patterson didn’t name names, it is no secret that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo wants the job. The former U.S. Housing Secretary and son of popular former Gov. Mario Cuomo would be a headline-making choice. On the other hand, women still make up a relatively small minority of the U.S. Senate. Promoting Rep. Louise Slaughter or Rep. Nydia Velázquez to the U.S. Senate to replace Hillary Clinton may be the more likely scenario.

In Illinois, there is intrigue. Sen. Obama and Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich don’t see eye to eye on lots of issues. The Governor may also be facing some legal and political issues. Obama was the only African-American in the U.S. Senate. So there is pressure to promote Chicago Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., son of the civil rights leader. William Daley, former Commerce Secretary and brother and son to two legendary Chicago Mayors, is also said to be in the running.

So once again, big names in politics appear to have the edge: Cuomo, Biden, Daley and Jackson. Will they sail into the U.S. Senate on the coattails of their famous relatives?

Stay tuned for more updates at

By the way, many people are hearing my voice lately on KKIQ Radio 101.7 FM, in a public service announcement for the “Hacienda Helping Hands” charity drive. If you know someone who needs a “voice-over” for their commercial, have them write or call me.

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