One of the guys who does volunteer work for the Marina (del Rey) Tenants Association (MTA) asked this columnist if we could help him in his private cause of trying to restore the level of karate instructions his daughter was receiving at the Sun Valley Park Recreation Center in Los Angeles County. There had been three classes a week and it had been reduced down to two a week and he wanted to see if he could get it back to three. (Cue the "putting toothpaste back into the tube" analogy?)
The Marina Tenants Association has, since its inception in the Seventies, been battling the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors over rent rates because the history of the world famous boating marina has lead the local voters and several newspaper reporters to ask for various investigations over the years because the fact that the developers who build in the county run area make profits that are deemed "excessive" while being regular campaign donors to the very politicians who are assigned the task of overseeing the possibility that the people who provide their own financial political support are too enthusiastic in setting new rent rates in that area. To some, it would seem that the voters think that the politicians, who assure their constituents that they will be impartial, are being disingenuous.
The fact that many voters are confused by the elimination of many budget items at a time when the question of financing new military operations in support of a civil war in Libya is being glossed over in a perfunctory manner is causing them to question the disparity of a "penny wise and pound foolish" agenda.
The President is scheduled to address the nation on Monday evening and explain his reasoning.
To cynics, it seems like the President is assisting the Republicans in their new "Take-away" strategy. The Republicans take away citizens rights and benefits while simultaneously taking away the tax burden for the corporations and rich individuals.
To some, it looks like the Republican agenda in Michigan amounts to taking away (AKA disenfranchising) the voters right to representation via mayoral and city council elections by installing "viceroys."
The challenge, for the President in Monday night's speech, will be to explain the apparent fiscal policy contradictions in terms that the average voter can understand. If President Obama can do that without sounding like a parody of the standard Bush war speech full of assurances that the task is hard work and that progress is being made; then he will (in effect) have kicked off his re-election campaign with another example of his famous speech-giving style (as St. Ronald Reagan often went to the people to use his charm to win the voters' hearts). If, however, he fumbles and comes off sounding like a college professor explaining calculus to a grade school mathematics class, he could face a more formidable reelection challenge than most of his cheerleader-pundits currently expect.
The degree of difficulty for the President's task has been further increased by a recent New York Time article that asserted that the new American military activities directed against Libya was based on some resentment for what American business men perceived as "extortion" on the part of the Libyan leader in return for commercial opportunities inside that country on the African continent. That would leave the war open to some snide commentary using the old mafia concept of "this is nothing personal, just business" regarding the new hostilities. Even just the idea of such a possibility contradicts the President's assertion that the new "war" is being waged for strictly humanitarian reasons.
(Doesn't the concept of "war for humanitarian reasons" sound rather Bush-esque?) [Note: efforts to find the article online were unsuccessful. Readers are invited to do their own fact checking on this possible news story explantation.]