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Who Will Replace Dick Cheney?

By       Message Brent Budowsky       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   3 comments

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Let’s have a serious talk about America and set aside the punditry, the pageantry and the pap of an election year that has become a festival of slander and a feast of mediocrity led by a media that is incapable of serious discussion of serious issues at a serious moment for the nation.

Barack Obama's choice for vice president will speak volumes about the kind of president he would be and the degree of substance and depth that he embodies. These are serious times that demand serious people. To the degree that Obama chooses a serious person by presidential standards, such as Sam Nunn or Joe Biden, versus the degree to which he chooses a good person far lower in the presidential league, such as Tim Kaine or Evan Bayh, it will speak volumes about Barack Obama as would-be president.

One pundit columnist, who will go nameless here, wrote what had to be the worst and most revealing column I have ever read in which he made fun of the idea that America is in a crisis and offered a few bromides about how great America is and that we need not listen to those who warn of crisis.

I thoroughly disagree; the reason America does indeed face multiple crises is that our leaders have forgotten WHY America is a great country and failed to sound a trumpet that summons the better angels of our national nature.

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This gentleman who writes there is no crisis certainly represents the prevailing wisdom in Washington and among the insider political classes and their courtiers in the media, though I doubt he received this wisdom having talked to any real Americans in recent years.

These are serious times that demand serious people.

While we debate what Hillary wants, active-duty troops and vets are enduring what can only be described as incompetence combined with cruelty and burdens no American should be asked to bear while other Americans of great means enjoy tax cuts they don’t need. For many troops and vets, there is a crisis indeed.

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While we debate whether Barack Obama is a Muslim, average Americans endure a Grapes of Wrath-style wave of foreclosures and worry deeply about the future of their families. For them, it is a crisis.

While the pundits pontificate their prognosis about something they know zero about, whom Barack Obama will choose for VP, America remains hostage to an energy addiction that funds wealthy monarchs who are no friends of America and impose cruelty on average and poor Americans, some of whom will die this winter because they cannot afford the skyrocketing cost of home heating. For them, it is a crisis.

While this columnist who shall go nameless is far out of touch with American life, he does represent the insider classes, for whom the only crisis is how they’ll retain power, how much money they make from the positions they hold, or whether they should dine at the Four Seasons or vacation in the Hampton (with, hopefully, someone else picking up the tab).

These are serious times for serious people, yet our president had to be informed months after the fact of the price of gasoline for Americans. Our vice president looks for new wars to fight and no doubt lobbies for pre-emptive pardons. Our Congress adjourns for recess after recess while doing nothing to address the real crisis for real Americans and much to address the only crisis that matters for them, their reelection.

Our media makes a mockery of itself by reporting smears as facts without ascertaining the truth and without any serious discussion of serious issues that deeply worry average Americans. 

If the media is the intermediator in a democracy, those who tell us what we are supposed to think, and predict things they know nothing about, do not speak of the great issues of Grapes of Wrath foreclosures, or troops dying preventable deaths, or a nation on its knees for oil, or the danger of a deepening recession, or the profound implications if we descend into a new Cold War, because these are not the matters that affect their daily lives or the people who populate the television studios they haunt or fine dining establishments they frequent.

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The problem is not that there is no crisis; the problem is, there are multiple crises and each involves tremendous pain and hardship and each would cost a trillion dollars to solve, and they are lumped together creating hardship and pain to good and decent Americans who ask nothing more than integrity and honor in public life, intelligence and substance from political media, and a call to what they can do for their country, from a system that never asks.

We now face the gathering storm of a potential new Cold War, and mark my words, we are now entering, once again, very dangerous waters indeed.

The question that Barack Obama will answer momentarily, perhaps will have answered by the time some of you read these words, is whether he fully understands that these are serious times that demand serious people, and whether the man or woman who replaces Dick Cheney should be a serious person by standards of being ready for the American presidency at a time of crisis.

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Brent Budowsky is a regular columnist on He served as Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen, responsible for commerce and intelligence matters, including one of the core drafters of the CIA Identities Law. Served (more...)

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