January 2009

Normally I wouldn’t spend any time writing about sports, but with the BCS championship game taking place tonight and the fact that the national champion will emerge with having lost one game this year I thought I’d throw my two cents into the ring.

Actually the main reason I feel the need to comment is that Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is investigating whether or not the BCS system violates anti-trust provisions which will prevent Utah from being crowned the national champion.

This is ridiculous! My father was born in Utah and attended the U in the1940’s.  I have cousins and other relatives to attend various Utah colleges and universities and my own children attend BYU.  Yet despite my obvious ties to Utah, I think Shurtleff is off his rocker.  What is a politician doing wading into the business of college football?

Everyone knows that teh BCS system is flawed, and this year the flaws were particularly acute as one team after another ascended to the No. 1 position during the season only to lose  and hope that they would be given a second chance.  Utah never reached the pinnacle in the polls , but fought well and hard to gain their top 10 and well deserved ranking.  They did bolster their case by thoroughly beating Alabama last month in the Sugar Bowl but that was just one game where top teams often falter against lesser opponents for some reason and isn’t a fair test of how good a team is. After all it has always been referred to as a mythical championship since it based on one game with teams selected by a system few people understand.

The BCS system has now taken what was once an enjoyable bowl season and turned it into a very dull affair.  I normally would have watched part or all of the major bowl games, but between the lackluster matchups and a schedule that defied all reason I saw only a few games and I don’t feel like I missed anything.

To be fair, Utah deserves to be rated in the top 5 when the final polls come out, but until they play the likes of Texas, Florida, Oklahoma or USC we really won’t know how good the team is or could have been.

I only watched the last 10 minutes of the RNC Chairman debate on C-Span last night, but that was more than enough for me  to be able to say that Mike Duncan may be a nice guy but he needs to go.

Maybe it’s my bias towards using technology to communicate and build a movement, but when Duncan was asked about Twitter, Facebook and MySpace all he could say was that he had a blog and that the RNC had a blog.  Sorry Mike, but you are a dinosaur when it comes to tech and that won’t do.  No wonder Obama cleaned the GOP’s clock last year.  They were being led by a technologial dweeb.

Technology isn’t and shouldn’t be the overriding concern for RNC members when they vote in 3 weeks but they shouldn’t discount it either.  On the tech side I would say that Saul Anuzis and Chip Saltsman have the edge with Ken  Blackwell close behind.  One thing I have noticed is that at least with Blackwell if you friend him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter that he is likely to reciprocate.  Steele is also good on this.  Anuzis and Saltsman get an F for reciprocating.  What’s wrong Saul and Chip?  Are you so smug as to think that people will want to be your friend or follow you and that you don’t need to do the same?  If that’s their idea of team building you can count me out.

I realize that it was only 10 minutes but it looks like Jaton Dawson the SC GOP Chairman might be the dark horse candidate that Duncan should worry about.  He comes from the south and is well spoken, understands technology and can probably bring the various factions together.  Saltsman has been unfairly tainted by the uproar over his decision to send the RNC members a copy of Paul Shanklin’s parodies featuring one called “Barack the Magic Negro”.  Steele is a goo man, but has really been a moderate Republican most of his life and as far as I am concerned he still is.  Blackwell is a solid conservative, but doesn’t have a stellar record in winning elections and seems a little too laid back.  Anuzis would be an asset since he hails from the Midwest, but I was concerned about his slips of the tongue last night when he said Democrat twice instead of Republican when referring to his own background.  Maybe it’s not a big deal but this was in his closing statement.

In reality, none of these men would be the ideal candidate as far as I am concerned and since I don’t have a vote my opinion is just that.   If the RNC members re-elect Duncan it will be seen as a reward for failure and a signal that 2010 won’t be any better than 2008.  Barack Obama won on the platform of hope and change.  For the RNC Chairman  I hope that they will make a change.

Well 2008 is officially over and was definitely one for the record books. Unfortunately the records were mostly negative especially for those with a conservative political bias.

What looked like a promising year began to unravel when brokerage firm Bear Stearns went bankrupt in March signaling that  the U.S. economic system was straining from the easy money policies of the last few years.

Since the Federal Reserve swept in and forced Bear Stearns into a shotgun wedding with J.P. Morgan and raped the shareholders in the process there was only minmal concern that this really was the beginning of a larger problem.

Besides we were in an election year and the media was fixated on the surprising strength of Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.  Obama managed to outraise and outmanuver fellow Sen. Hillary Clinton whom pundits only a few months prior to the start of the primary season thought had the nomination all but locked up.

By June she was finished and embarrassed.

For conservatives we were left with John McCain who like a  Phoenix rose from the ashes to claim the Republican presidential nomination and beat back Mitt Romney who spent  a lot of money early in the campaign only to fizzle out as Evangelicals raised doubts about both his faith and his conservative credentials and Mike Huckabee who was labeled early on as a tax raiser and never really gained much trust among conservative activists.

Despite the lack of a conservative standard bearer conservatives felt compelled to support McCain since the alternative was a liberal Barack Obama.

McCain gave conservatives some hope when he selected Alaska Gov. Sarah  Palin as his running mate.  Palin had solid conservative credentials and was seen as a counterweight to McCain’s more moderate to liberal thinking.

Palin looked like a shining light and  a future party superstar after her speech at the Republican National convention, but quickly stumbled once she was interviewed by the media and without her teleprompter. 

There are conservatives who place the bungled interviews on the liberal media’s agenda to bring her down and the McCain campaign’s attempt to keep her on a short leash.  That may be true to some degree, but it was painfully evident that she was just not ready for the rigors of the national stage as a candidate for office.

Despite the stumbles, McCain actually was leading Obama in early Sepetmber and then the other shoe dropped.  Since March the U.S. economy has been treading water at best but the free market was working and still in effect.  Then giant bond house and broker Lehman Brothers failed.  This failure along with other financial firms feeling the squeeze of a punk economy effectively put the brakes on the credit market.

It wasn’t a true crisis as we were led to believe but a lack of faith in the economy and our government stopped credit from flowing and disrupted the entire economic system.

For the Democrats they couldn’t have crafted a better scenario to capture the White House.  There they were less than two months away from the election and the economy now takes center stage among voters who had previously been worried about a lack of experience on Obama’s part.

This was an utter disaster for McCain as well who had been quoted often that he didn;t really know much about econmics.  And even though Palin had experience in running a state government it was far different than running the entire economy so she provided no reassurance that the GOP would solve the problem.

So in November Obama coasts to victory and the Democrats not only capture the White House for the first time since 1996, but they racked up large victories in the House and Senate and will govern will little opposition from the GOP.

Yes, 2008 was a lousy year in many respects, but with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid only days away from convening the new congress with large majorities you can bet that 2009 will be remembered as a year of record liberal legislation and increased federal government intervention that will astound even the most seasoned observer.

In some ways I am glad that Obama won, because McCain certainly wouldn’t have been able to fix the economy and Obama won’t be able to either.  The liberals won’t be able to blame their failures on the president as they have in the past because it is their man now at the controls.

Here’s to hoping that the Democrats don’t destroy our great nation, but I am not convinced they won’t.

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