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Sharon, DeLay, and the News of the Day
Sharon, DeLay, and the News of the Day
As I am sure most of you are aware, Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is in critical but stable condition after a serious stroke. Whatever one may wish to believe about the Prime Minister and his decisions -- and let's face it, everyone has an opinion, whether it's well thought out, smart, articulate, and reasoned or not -- the potential crisis of leadership that exists in Israel raises serious questions about the future of Middle East and the peace process which Sharon was, in these his later years, committed.
On Saturday, Jordan's King Abdullah called Israeli Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to express concern about Sharon's condition, Olmert's office said.
Abdullah emphasized the important relations between the two nations and stressed that Jordan wants to continue its relationship with the Israeli government, Olmert's office said.
Jordan is among the few nations in the region to recognize Israel and have diplomatic relations with its government.
Sharon's stroke comes at a politically sensitive time for his newly formed Kadima party, which faces its first national election, scheduled for March 28.
In November, Sharon abandoned the dominant right-wing Likud bloc he helped found in 1973. He had hoped to build support for his contentious proposal to turn over Gaza and parts of the West Bank to Palestinian control, while dismantling some Israeli settlements.
Faced with strong opposition from his Likud counterparts, Sharon left the bloc and formed the centrist Kadima party, hoping to sow already fertile political ground.
By moving toward the center of the political spectrum, Sharon had planned to complete the West Bank withdrawal and conduct final negotiations with the Palestinians based on the "road map" for peace being pushed by the White House.
The move of Sharon from Likud was itself a courageous and historic move. For over three decades Sharon's hawkish policies had been the driving force behind Likud's policies. I must admit that even I had once said that it would be a cold day in Hell when Sharon becomes Prime Minister. Yet upon his rise to power, he demonstrated his capacity for mature leadership in a way he had not done since his days in the Army. He committed himself -- and Israel -- to a path of peace, damned what come.
Before his debilitating stroke, polls showed that Kadima would dominate the elections and win the most seats in the Knesset, making it likely Sharon would remain prime minister.
Without Sharon, Kadima is still poised to win the most seats in parliament, according to a poll conducted by the Israeli media. But political observers say Kadima will need to swiftly anoint a new leader to prevent Likud and the center-left Labor Party from gaining ground.
Olmert, the deputy prime minister who joined Sharon in leaving Likud, will act in his place until the March28 election, although it is unclear whether Kadima members will pick him as their permanent leader.
On the domestic front, we find ourselves with a very interesting situation...
Representative Tom "The Hammer" DeLay today announced that he will not seek to return to his post as Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.
The embattled Republican, facing campaign finance charges in his home state of Texas, temporarily had to step aside from the post during the fall when he was indicted. Since then, Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri has filled in.
"While we wage these important battles, I cannot allow our adversaries to divide and distract our attention," DeLay wrote in a letter sent to members of the House Republican conference on Saturday. (Read entire letter)
DeLay requested the conference convene to choose his replacement and stay focused on protecting the nation and "meeting the daily challenges facing the American people."
House Speaker Dennis Hastert said expected a new majority leader will be elected during the week of January 31 when the House of Representatives returns for the State of the Union Address.
White House spokeswoman Erin Healy issued a statement saying: "We respect Congressman Delay's decision to put the interests of the American people, the House of Representatives, and the Republican Party first."
Republican John Boehner, a House member from Ohio and likely candidate for DeLay's post, called DeLay"one of the most effective and gifted leaders the Republican Party has ever known." He added his belief that DeLay "will eventually be cleared and exonerated."
I cannot help but be amused by all this. I am politically moderate. While I belong to a party which shall remain nameless, the Republicans have become blind to their power and arrogance just as the Democrats had when they were in power. The old addage "Absolute power corrupts absolutely" yet again demonstrates its truth!
The Hammer is being brought down by his own arrogance. Now many are quick to pick on Tom for his tactics, but like him or not, he did do some great things for both Congress, the Republican Party, and the country. But like Bill Clintn and his Monica-ization before him, Tom's only legacy will be his corruption and powermongering.
But here's the issue in a nutshell. It's reall not Tom's fault. (I know what kind of reaction that has caused, but bear with me and finish reading this...)
It's OUR fault. We keep electing people like Tom and Duke Cunningham and others on BOTH sides of the isle who are selfish, greedy, power-mad and frankly even crazy. We are the ones to blame. They didn't elect themselves (except in Chicago, and that's a whole other story). We elected them.
And we will continue to. Because as a people we Americans are lazy, apathetic, ignorant, and uninvolved. We are fine with the status quo every elction day expcept when it comes to electing a president. And even then, we are not conferned about foreign policy or national security unless we've just been bombed or we're at war and it affects us. Our gas prices. Our milk prices. Our jobs. Our boys.
Question: why weren't we concerned about these things before? Why weren't we pressing for them between elections? Are elections the only time we believe we can and should do/say something about the state of the nation? And if so, why do we continue to send over 80% of Members back to Congress? Can someone PLEASE answer these for me?
OK. I'll get off my soapbox now.
And for the most important news of the day:
Lindsay Lohan has been released from a Miami hospital after suffering an asthma attack. Thank the Heavens. What would society have done had she not been back?