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Unity Meetings Need More Than Handshakes

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(Danville, California)

As politics go, it was a great photo op: Barack Obama and John McCain, sitting down in Chicago to bury the hatchet and pledging to cooperate. We’ll see if it really happens. Promises of bipartisanship in Washington are almost as long as the national debt, but I do think Obama has a unique opportunity to try. Here are some places to start:

Joe Lieberman – The Democrats should allow him to stay on in their caucus if he wishes. He should also keep his Chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee. For Democrats to punish Joe Lieberman would be petty. What? Should Republicans censure Colin Powell in return? People, including high ranking officials, should have the freedom to support whomever they wish. The election is supposedly a celebration of our freedom. Let it be.

Ted Stevens – This is a trickier matter, because he has seven felony convictions. If he loses his tight Senate race in Alaska, then just let him finish out his term on January 3. There’s no need to be mean and vindictive here. If he wins, he should be pressured to do the noble thing and resign. Expulsion from the Senate should only be the final resort.

The Cabinet – Obama should be true to his word and appoint some Republicans. Keeping Robert Gates at Defense is a likely start.

Hillary Clinton – The more I think about her as Secretary of State, the more it makes sense for Obama. Whether it makes sense for international relations remains to be seen. The world is a minefield.

Legislation – This is where Obama really needs to emphasize bipartisanship. Given their huge majorities, Democrats can steamroll just about anything through Congress. Such margins can lead to hasty and bad legislation. Obama needs to have the guts to wave his veto pen, even at his own party.

Issues – For starters, immigration reform never came up in the campaign. Never! I don’t think the issue was even raised in the debates. It’s a critical issue for economics; and it’s a critical issue for national security. Heck, it touches everything, from health care to education. Something concrete needs to be done - not only on border security, but also on how to handle the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants who are already here. The last Congress and President failed to come to any agreement. Yes, it was a flawed bill, (most are), but it was a start. Doing nothing is a disgrace to both parties.

John McCain – Perhaps immigration reform is where John McCain enters the picture. As a moderate, he supports some of the same reforms as Democrats. But he also has the influence to make sure some of the Republican reforms are put in the package. Heck, lead a filibuster, since Democrats failed to win the 60 seats necessary to block one. Generally speaking, the GOP has called for far tougher measures on border security than the Democrats. McCain can be the compromiser. It’s hard to imagine this critical issue can pass without him. And if Obama truly wants to show he’s bipartisan and not afraid to step on some constituencies in his own party, then immigration is a good place to start.

Keep checking my blog daily at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

Barack Obama Plays “Hollywood Squares!”

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(Danville, California)

Okay, just forget everything I wrote in yesterday’s blog about Hillary Clinton NOT becoming Secretary of State.

She will be offered the job, will take it, and will be confirmed by the Senate.

Why? Not because of Barack Obama, but because of Bill Richardson!

Do you remember the TV show “Hollywood Squares?” It featured nine show biz “has-beens” in a Tic-Tac-Toe game. It was common to hear a civilian contestant say, “I’ll take Charlie Weaver to block!” thus thwarting the opposing contestant’s ability to get three x’s or o’s in a row.

So what does this have to do with the Obama cabinet? Everything. Politics is often a game of one-upsmanship. Hillary Clinton discussed being Secretary of State with Obama on Thursday. On Friday Obama discussed the very same job with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.

Clinton (and especially her husband Bill) are bitter enemies with Richardson. You see, they were all once friends. Bill Clinton appointed then-Congressman Richardson to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Later, Clinton made Richardson Secretary of Energy. Two Cabinet posts, and his career was made.

Richardson has a long resume; and, with that in hand, ran for the Democratic nomination for President this year. He finished a distant fourth in Iowa and dropped out.

Many thought his loyalties would lie with the Clintons, who had made him a national, household name. But in April Richardson endorsed Barack Obama on Good Friday of all days. Clinton confidant James Carville called Richardson “Judas” on “Meet the Press,” wondering what he got for his “thirty pieces of silver.” It was the best campaign drama (i.e. Soap Opera) of 2008.

It was gut-wrenching. Bill Richardson and Bill Clinton, former allies, did not even speak behind the curtain at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. The ice has not thawed, and likely never will.

This is why Hillary Clinton will be our next Secretary of State, which is what President-elect Obama wants. While Clinton might have been inclined to say “no” to the job, she surely will not step aside and let Bill Richardson get a free pass to State. Obama used Hillary Clinton “to block,” just like Wally Cox and Rose Marie on “Hollywood Squares!”

Poor Richardson is about to get tossed aside like a used cigar from the Clinton White House. Paybacks are hell. He just got played like an unsuspecting intern.

Stay tuned to the latest at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

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