The NYC Blizzard of 2010: Mayor Bloomberg’s Colossal Failure

About ten days before the nasty blizzard that walloped New York City and brought it to its knees, the national weather service and several news agencies predicted that the City would be receiving at least a foot of snow. This blizzard was not a surprise to anyone.  It didn’t come sneaking in the middle of the night under the radar like a stealth ninja.

In places like upstate New York, like Syracuse, Rochester, or Buffalo, blizzard conditions would not have been necessarily front page news for the government, because they have the systems in place to deal with such a weather contingency.  But one foot of snow in upstate New York is a lot of different than one foot of snow in New York City.  For starters, New York City requires much more preparation and planning to galvanize its workers to ensure that the snow is cleared by the plows, both because of the City’s size, as well as the simple fact that heavy snow is not part of the usual NYC winter landscape.

Given all this, at first it was hard to understand why the City was so thoroughly unprepared by the blizzard.  The arguments that were put forward by the City, as well as outlined by many major media outlets, centered around after-the-fact arguments that did nothing to explain why the government was unprepared — thoroughly unprepared — by the blizzard.  These two arguments generally revolved around: 1) there were too many cars stuck in the road for clean up crews and 2) there was a huge fire in Queens.

Within two days of the storm, the estimates quickly went from a foot to as much as 16 inches. This should have clearly moved whatever myopia was over Mayor Bloomberg’s cash infested upper east side loving brain.   But it didn’t.  Instead, Bloomberg decided to do the business as usual plan: mobilize the efforts a few hours after the snow began falling.

That works when you have unsustained snow totaling no more than two or three inches — which is considered usually a “heavy” snowfall for New York City.  When you’re dealing with snowfalls greater than a foot, you can’t start the cleanup after the snow begins falling, because a) it’s falling fast and b) the potential for vehicles not part of the cleanup crew to block the streets increases.  That is why some cities close certain roads to ensure that the cleanup effort is not hampered.  To be sure, the City did recommend  that non-essential driving be kept to a minimum — but it did so only the next morning, when no one in the outer-boroughs could drive anywhere anyway.

It is thus no surprise that the City was and still is a damn mess.  Roads are still unplowed.  Buses are still stuck in the middle of the road.  Trains are not functioning.  People can’t get to work.  The City is still at a standstill.  And the sad fact is that it’s going to be like that for a little while.  To be clear,  when I say the City, I should mention that I’m defining it as the outer-boroughs and parts of Manhattan that do not include the upper east side.  Because to Bloomberg, it seems that the only part of the City that matters to him is the upper east side.  And everything else falls to the wayside in proportion to how far you are away from East 79th Street.

The outer-boroughs look like something from Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.”  I know people who can’t get to dialysis because they’re plowed in and can’t either take a taxi or bus to the clinic.  You would not see this on the upper east side.  Their roads will be clear and then wonder why everyone else is complaining.  They say, “If only people were self-reliant.”

In fact, in the throes of the storm, the one place where you could really drive a car, even if you had a Toyota Prius, was on the upper east side.  Bloomberg, for his part, was his testy little Kim Jong-Il self when, in response to criticisms of his leadership (or lack of it more precisely) during the blizzard, he stated, “There’s no reason for everybody to panic.  Our city is doing exactly what you’d want it to do.”

Really, Mr. Bloomberg?  You are completely out of touch.

Honduras moves towards total isolation

Since the removal of President Manuel Zelaya in June, the provisional government has steadily and predictably isolated Honduras, both from the international community and, most importantly, from the most basic tenets of democracy.  roberto michelettiIn true Orwellian fashion, the provisional government has justified everything it has done — from removing President Zelaya without the due process required by its own constitution it is purportedly defending to suspending basic civil liberties — in the name of “democracy.”  I am not sure what planet Roberto Micheletti and his provisional government cronies are from, but they are singlehandedly facilitating the tortured history and doublespeak that represented what we all thought was a Honduras goverment of the past.  

If you think Honduras is headed towards a breaking point, you are wrong.  Wake up.  Honduras is already there.

As you probably all know by now, the provisional government shut down Channel 36 and Radio Globo, because they were broadcasting telephone calls from President Zelaya.  “Yeah, we can’t have that,” says Michelletti.  “He has to be out of sight, out of mind!  Let’s sweep it all under the rug and maybe the Honduran people in all their idiocy will forget that we roused him in the middle of the night and forcibly removed him from the country.  Shhhh!  If we don’t talk about it, then it’ll go away!” 

Whether you agree with Zelaya or not is not the issue; the provisional government circumvented democracy when it removed Zelaya and now is trying to tack legitimacy to its actions after the fact.  It doesn’t work that way.  That’s political science 101.  Is it me or is Micheletti trying to become yet another case study in how yet another Latin American government brings down its iron fist in the name of democracy?  What’s in the water over there?

And, to add insult to injury, the provisional government has threatened to shut down the Brazilian embassy within the next 10 days and yesterday expelled four diplomats from the Organization of American States.  The diplomats were apparently members of an advance team trying to negotiate an end to the crisis.  To his defense, I guess Micheletti, who clearly is living in some bubble world on his family finca and is taking massive doses of reality-altering medications, surely sees no need to end a crisis that doesn’t exist in the first place. 

What I find further infuriating is the fact that the United States and many news outlets here have described the “situation” or “crisis” in Honduras as a “political one.”  This label is doublespeak.  To be sure, while the forcible removal of a sitting president is, by definition, a “political situation,” is it also a mere “political situation” when the civil rights of its citizenry, guaranteed by its own constitution, is abrogated for no legitimate reason?  That to me is more than just a “political situation,” but a tragedy that tears the social and civil fabric of Honduras at its roots.  For the United States and other countries to sit idly behind the scenes as Honduras falls deeper and deeper into isolation — against the will of its people — is unacceptable. 

Only by fortune so far, and certainly not because of the actions of the provisional or de facto government of Honduras, has widespread violence not broken out.  But what has broken out is the widespread violence the de facto government of Honduras has lashed against its own citizenry, in the name of some twisted version of democracy.

Bloomberg Gets His Wish: 29 to 22 to extend term limits

Just when you thought that the world was coming back to order again, there is this.  The New York City council voted to extend term limits from two to three.  Forget that New York City voters voted on this very issue, not once, but twice . . . flatly, expressly, and unequivocally rejecting proposals to extend term limits from two to three.  Forget that the main man behind this, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is an uber-billionaire who clearly held sway with the Council — all of whom, of course, now can run for another term. 

Bloomberg’s justification for extending his term limit from two to three had to do solely with the financial crisis.  Of course, let’s forget that Giuliani asked for the same thing after September 11, 2001, via a three month extension, but that was resolutely rejected.  If anything, it shows Giuliani wasn’t the brilliant politician as Bloomberg and his team of hacks are.

Christine C. Quinn, the Speaker and Bloomberg’s lap dog, commented about the extension of term limits in the most Orwellian of ways.  She said, “They should have the right to vote for the current mayor, or a new one, for their current City Council member, or a new one. That is exactly what is at stake today.”

Huh?  That seems to be putting the cart before the horse.  Yeah, sure, with an extension of term limits, voters can now choose to vote for Bloomberg, Person A, or Person B.  But that is not what’s at stake here, Ms. Quinn. 

First, what is at stake here is how an already inept council can destroy the will of the people.  Twice, and I will repeat this, twice, have the voters explicitly rejected by way of referendum any extension of term limits.  But no, apparently that doesn’t matter.  Nonetheless, the council, with the support of Bloomberg and two other billionaires, was able to get this horrific bill on the floor for a vote. . . a vote that everyone knew what the results would be, despite all the speeches by the politicians.

To be sure, as Ms. Quinn and others have pointed out, the people could vote out Bloomberg in the next election, as well as other people on the council who are enjoying the fruits of a third term that the people of the City of New York had previously took from them.  But that completely misses the point.  The point here is an abuse of the democratic process.  Plain and simple.  Just because an inept city council decided to conduct a vote doesn’t somehow bypass the abuse of the process.  There’s no “cancel out” here. 

It is also an abuse of something else that is not talked about as much:  the power of incumbency.  Incumbents, by the very fact of their office, have extraordinary power to get reelected.  Part of their job, by its very nature, includes running for reelection.  Need stats to back that up?  Just look to Congress.   For the House of Representatives, incumbents are winning more than 80 percent of the time.  For the Senate, incumbents are winning more than 75 percent of the time.  I mean, let’s look at Senator Chuck Schumer.  How many times do you see him on tv?  Sure, he’s “reporting” to the public about what’s going on but he’s also telling people, “Hey, I’m your Senator and vote for me.”  It’s free ad time. 

Term limits recognize how the power of incumbency destroys democracy, i.e., the ability of challengers to lodge a solid and credible campaign.  That’s why it’s not surprising that the voters — twice — rejected an extension of term limts.  Here, Bloomberg’s third term has essentially wiped out the chances of numerous candidates to run for election, not to mention the other “seats” in the other districts.  So, while the voters will have a choice this upcoming election, one must ask what kind of choice is it really.

And, what is particularly bothering is the apparent “emergency” that Bloomberg and by extension, the other assembly persons who are benefitting from this extra term, are using to support their term limit extension.  Yes, Bloomberg is a popular Mayor.  And yes, the financial crisis is, in fact, a crisis.  But to believe that it is such a crisis that Bloomberg and the council have the right to violate the will of the people is just ridiculous and simply overstates Bloomberg’s ability over anyone and everyone to get the job done.  Years from now, what will be the next justification?  There will always be something.  And, frankly, Bloomberg is no FDR.

What happened today was an affront to democracy.  Shame on the council.  Vote them all out.

Barack Obama and the Muslim Connection?

In the last several weeks, you may have heard or read those emails claiming that Barack Obama is a Muslim.  Although for most people, the truth has been set straight that Barack Obama is not a Muslim, the larger point often is missed, and like most points that are missed, it is the more important one.  To me, the fundamental question is not whether Obama is Muslim, but whether it should even matter to the American public that he is Muslim?

I’m sure some of the reasonable people out there are already answering that question with an answer that goes something like this, “Well, it goes to his character.  If he said he wasn’t Muslim but a Christian, but he really is a Muslim, you have to ask why he would lie like that?  I can’t trust someone like that.”

That’s a perfectly reasonable answer.  But I’m sure for the majority of those people who gave that answer, what response would you give if Barack always said he was a Muslim to begin with?  The answer would probably boil down to, “I like Barack and his policies but frankly, I just don’t trust the guy.  I can’t put a finger on it.”

Political correctness has just given us new codewords.  Discrimination is still discrimination though, even by another name.

The media, along with Obama’s supporters, have for the most part taken great strides in “debunking the myth” that Obama is a Muslim.  But they haven’t taken the next step, or even the a priori step, of contending why that question is flawed to begin with.  In an election of name calling, both Obama and McCain’s attempt to put the “Muslim question” into a nice, little soundbite is not so much an example of weak political will, but the failure of the United States to be truly an inclusive place for all.

It’s that whole idea, somehow, that being called a “Muslim,” or being associated with a “Muslim,” is akin to being on the side of a terrorist.  Of course, McCain doesn’t say this directly nor does Obama.  They are politicians, after all.  Of course, there are people out there — and I’m sure if you have a yahoo or google account, you surely have received these emails — arguing that there is a fundamental connection between Islam and terrorism, and that anyone who is a Muslim must be a terrorist by default.  

The question I ask is whether McCain and Obama’s actions have essentially extended this same message?  For McCain’s part, he doesn’t do enough to quell the members of the right who are constantly trying to paint Obama as a terrorist, with suggestions that he is, in fact, a Muslim.  McCain and Palin, for their part, discuss in the most ominous of ways, Obama’s “past” catching up to him and why no one should trust him.  For Obama’s part, he doesn’t do enough to raise the question to his constituents of why it is irrelevant what his religion is in determining whether he is “patriotic” enough to be president.  In the end, for both candidates, their claims that the U.S. is an inclusive country just rings hollow. 

After all, have you seen any of these candidates visiting a Mosque?  I haven’t.  I’m sure none of these candidates would want to be caught dead within 500 miles of one. 

Change we can believe in?  For whom?

“Poor Sarah” (Or How Judith Warner Type Reasoning Can Lead To Shocking Results Come November)

First, let me get this out of the way:  I will not be voting for McCain/Palin.  With that said, though, I almost feel compelled to write about NY Times Domestic Disturbances writer Judith Warner’s latest article, “Poor Sarah.”  I will quote it and the end of the post but you can find it here.

If you ever want to see an example of the elitist, snooty, out of touch reasoning of liberal democrats that republicans are so fond of labeling all democrats as, then you don’t have to go any farther than Judith Warner’s article.  Although a jaded mind may think that all articles from the NY Times are dripping with elitist, snooty, out of touch reasoning, I think Judith Warner’s piece takes the cake and then buys the bakery after.

Judith Warner’s article can boil down to pretty much three things.  Number 1:  Sarah Palin is like Elle Woods, the heroine in Legally Blonde.  Number 2:  Anyone who supports Sarah Palin, and particularly any woman who supports Sarah Palin, mistakenly sympathizes with Sarah Palin, much like a prisoner would in a Stockholm Syndrome type of situation.  Number 3:  And, anyone who supports Sarah Palin is an idiot, because Sarah Palin is both “incompetent” and an “insult” to every man and woman alive in America, and perhaps the rest of the world.

Warner’s article speaks for itself but I thought I’d spend a few lines with my comments.  Judith Warner’s article is an example of the shroud of ignorance that many democrats are still living in — even after the second George Bush win.  I’m sorry to break it to Judith, and perhaps to some liberal democrats who are laughing to themselves over a cup of latte and a scone (pronounced skahn, not scone), but not every women has been duped into supporting Palin for the wrong reasons (such as sympathy), and not every woman who was born on this earth — by both God given mental faculties and reason — is born a liberal democrat with liberal values. 

Warner doesn’t admit this in her article, but let’s put it this way: if Sarah Palin was fat and ugly, would she be compared to Elle Woods or some other type of ditz?  I’m not a woman, nor have I ever in this lifetime been a woman, but when Judith Warner wrote this article, is she reliving her high school memories of the pretty and popular “girl” who beat her in school elections and won the prom queen?  On a more fundamental and primal level, Warner’s article just sounds bitter against her because, well, Palin is where she is and Judith, is, well, where she is.

Apart from that, Warner’s article represents the view that liberal democrats are right and that anyone who disagrees with that view is simply stupid, backward, and idiotic.  It’s different than saying someone is wrong for supporting McCain/Palin.  There is a fine line between saying someone is wrong versus saying someone is stupid, backward, and idiotic.  Not only does the latter resort to ad hominum attacks which do nothing to actually create constructive dialogue, it’s just simply so, so, well, as Elle Woods might say, “so, oh my god, like that’s so high school.”

Here’s the article from the NY Times:

I spent the past week in New York, helping my mother recover from surgery. It was a new role for me, taking care of my mom. It must, I think, have been somewhat destabilizing. Perhaps when previously untapped wells of care-for-others are accessed, there’s no stopping the flow. Or perhaps it was just that, after five days locked in stare-downs with my mother’s cat, my eyes were playing tricks on me.

This may explain why, on Tuesday afternoon when I went to The Times Web site and saw the photo of Sarah Palin with Henry Kissinger, a funny thing happened. A wave of self-recognition and sympathy washed over me. That’s right — self-recognition and sympathy.Rising up from a source deep in my subconscious. I saw a woman fully aware that she was out of her league, scared out of her wits, hanging on for dear life. I saw this in the sag of her back in her serious black suit, in the position of her hands, crossed modestly atop her knees, and in that “Mad Men”-era updo, ever unchanging, like a good luck charm.  Why, all of a sudden, was I experiencing this upsurge of concern and kinship? I knew, on the one hand, that this new vision of Palin had to be a mirage. Only a few hours earlier, I’d nodded along knowingly as a band of old-school liberals, gathered in my mother’s apartment to cheer her through her convalescence, tore the Alaska governor apart.

“He’s probably the first Jew she’s ever met,” one older gentleman, who himself had grown up as one of the only Jews in pre-World-War-II Lincoln, Neb., said of her meeting with Kissinger.  “No, there was Joe Lieberman,” his wife reminded him, putting me in a mind of the comedian Sara Benincasa’s utterly hilarious Palin parody, as a chorus of “despicable” and “disgusting” filled the room. My friend Mary has long said that I have a tendency to develop a Stockholm-Syndrome-like empathy for the people I write about. But I don’t think that’s what was going on here. I think — before I blinked — I had an actual flash of insight. I think I finally stumbled upon a major piece of the puzzle of how it is that so many Republican women can so passionately claim that Sarah Palin is someone they relate to. (It’s worth noting that polls have definitively shown that John McCain’s Palin gambit has not paid off in attracting disgruntled Democratic women voters.)

That the women who agree with Palin would also like her is not surprising. But the whole business of relating? That has remained mysterious for me. What, I’ve wondered, could the kinds of suburban moms I met, for example, at the McCain-Palin rally in Virginia, some of them former professionals with just two children apiece, one a former grad student making links between Palintology and the work of Homi Bhabha, have in common with a moose-killing Alaska frontierswoman with her five kids, five colleges and pastoral protection from witchcraft?  I think I’ve seen it now. In her own folded hands, her hopeful, yet sinking posture, her eager-to-please look. Sarah Palin is their — dare I say our? — inner Elle Woods.

I had thought of Elle Woods, the heroine of the 2001 and 2003 “Legally Blonde” and “Legally Blonde 2” films, a great deal during the week that Palin became McCain’s running mate and made her appearance at the Republican National Convention. The thoughts didn’t actually originate with Palin; my daughter Julia had recently discovered the soundtrack of “Legally Blonde: the Musical” and then the movies that inspired the Broadway show.  Re-watching the movies with Julia, I’d been surprised at how time, and motherhood, had tempered my affection for Elle Woods — a frilly, frothy blonde who charms her way into Harvard Law School and takes the stodgy intellectual elitists there by storm with her Anygirl decency and non-snooty (and not-so-credible) native intelligence.

I’d found the “Legally Blonde” movies fun the first time around. Viewing them in the company of an enraptured 11-year-old, who’d declared Elle her new “role model” after months of dreaming of growing up to be a neuroscientist in a long braid and Birkenstocks, was another story. “You can’t,” I’d admonished Julia, “accomplish anything worthwhile in life just by being pretty and cute and clever. You have to do the work.” “It’s just fun, Mom,” she protested. Right. You don’t have to be perennially pretty in pink — and ditsy and cutesy and kinda maybe stupid — to have an inner Elle Woods. Many women do. I think of Elle every time I dress up my insecurities in a nice suit. So many of us today — balancing work and family, treading water financially — feel as if we’re in over our heads, getting by on appearances while quaking inside in anticipation of utter failure. Chick lit — think of Bridget Jones, always fumbling, never quite who she should be — and in particular the newer subgenre of mom lit are filled with this kind of sentiment.

You don’t have to be female to suffer from Impostor Syndrome either — I learned the phrase only recently from a male friend, who puts a darned good face forward. But I think that women today — and perhaps in particular those who once thought they could not only do it all but do it perfectly, with virtuosity — are unique in the extent to which they bond over their sense of imposture. I saw this feeling in Palin — in a flash, on that blue couch, catty-corner to Kissinger, as her eyes pleaded for clemency from the camera. I’ll bet you anything that her admirers — the ones whose hearts really and truly swell with a sense of kinship to her — see or sense it in her, too. They know she can’t possibly do it all — the kids, the special-needs baby, the big job, the big conversations with foreign leaders. And neither could they.

The “Legally Blonde” fairy tales spin around the idea that, because Elle believes in herself, she can do anything. Never mind the steps that she skips. Never mind the fact that — in the rarefied realms of Harvard Law and Washington policymaking — she isn’t the intellectual equal of her peers. Self-confidence conquers all! (“Of course she doesn’t have that,” said Laura Bush of Palin this week when asked if the vice presidential pick had sufficient foreign policy experience. “You know, that’s not been her role. But I think she is a very quick study.”) Real life is different, of course, from Hollywood fantasy. Incompetence has consequences, political and personal. Glorifying or glamorizing the sense of just not being up to the tasks of life has consequences, too. It means that any woman who exudes competence will necessarily be excluded from the circle of sisterhood. We can’t afford any more of that.

Frankly, I’ve come to think, post-Kissinger, post-Katie-Couric, that Palin’s nomination isn’t just an insult to the women (and men) of America. It’s an act of cruelty toward her as well.

John McCain, the Republicans, and the Diseased Elephant in the Room

If I had to sum up the message from the Republican Convention, then I would sum it up like this:  the Republicans — unlike those Democrats — do not represent the elite, are first and foremost for the country, believe in smaller government and less taxes, support less spending, and were not the party of President George W. Bush.  

I wish I had known this before.  This makes my decision so much easier after learning these facts, particularly the one about President George W. Bush not being part of the Republican Party.  Whew. 

I also didn’t realize that democrats represented the elite and that the republicans represented the poor man.  I guess it makes sense, then, that the republicans want more tax cuts for corporations and the uber-rich.  Why should the middle-class get tax cuts?  Everyone knows that if you give tax cuts to corporations, especially those corporations who export U.S. jobs to foreign countries, and to people who make over $250,000 a year, then eventually the benefits of those tax cuts will trickle down to the middle-class.  After all, this trickle down type of economic policy has been working like a charm in the last eight years.  We should keep doing that!!  I mean, it’s not like we have a big deficit, our unemployment rate has not increased, and we have a very robust housing market with minimal foreclosures.  And, just take a look at our rising stock and bond markets.  Anyone who says we’re not better off than we were eight years ago has their heads in the sand!  If you don’t believe me, just look at your 401(K) statements! 

I also didn’t realize that republicans are the party whose primary interest is the U-nited States of America, as opposed to the democrats, who, as I now realize, are probably aligned with terrorists, such as Al-Queda.  I now know that those country-hating democrats are against the torture of terrorists, extraordinary rendition, and anything else that would give ‘due process’ to anyone, citizen or not, who is suspected of terrorism.  It’s not like our country was founded upon the principle of ‘due process’!  I think that term was invented by judges, all of whom are just trying to legislate from the bench.  I also didn’t realize that republicans are the party that want to reduce the size of government.  This is good news, because our president for the last eight years has increased it.  It just keeps getting better for the republicans!  

I guess it’s a good thing that President George W. Bush is not from the Republican party.  When I watched the convention on television, he wasn’t even there and those Republicans didn’t even mention his name.  I don’t even get what those Obama commercials are saying that McCain and President George W. Bush are the “same.”  That’s just ridiculous.  They are not even from the same party!  And, as everyone surely must know, the Republicans have absolutely nothing to do with keeping that President George W. Bush in office the last eight years. 

Wow.  What an epiphany.  You know where my vote is going come November!

USA!  USA!  USA!  USA!  USA!

The Problem With Democrats

I think the biggest problem with democrats can be boiled down to one word that the republicans say we don’t have:  faith.  Believe it or not, democrats have too much faith.

When George Bush ran in 2000, democrats exalted, “How can anyone vote for a man like this?”  Then, in 2004, when George Bush ran again, democrats again exalted, “Well, 2000 was clearly a fluke.  After all, how can anyone vote for a man like this?”  Now, in 2008, the same question is being asked of McCain:  How can anyone vote for a man like this?”

Maybe I’m using a more neutral term like “faith” to describe the democrat’s malady because I am a democrat, unlike other words I could have used, such as “arrogance” or “ignorance” or even “out of touch” to perhaps describe what really is going on with democrats.  Be that as it may, I can say confidently now that a large percentage of Americans will vote for McCain.  For many democrats, that’s a hard thing to admit, because we believe that anyone in their right mind would not vote for such a man.

I’ll take a small example of our “faith” at work.  When democrats are interviewed about Sarah Palin, they often comment that although they are happy that McCain “chose a woman,” they are “offended” that McCain and “those republicans” chose “that kind of woman.”  You mean a woman that is against abortion?  You mean a woman with conservative values?  You mean a woman who has several kids, including one that obviously engaged in pre-marital sex?  

Are these “values” only reserved for men?  Or, for democrats, does every woman have to support abortion rights whole-heartedly and have liberal values to be a reasonable person?

To me, it’s the same old, same old again by the democrats, of framing in our minds that the only things which are at all reasonable are coming from the mouths of Obama and Biden, and that everything which is at all unreasonable is coming from the mouths of McCain and Palin.  That’s a great view at a rally, but not one that will either guide policy or win the election come November.  Unlike in Europe, where political parties can be extraordinarily far apart in terms of ideology, the difference between democrats and republicans — sorry to break it to you again, my democrats — is not so significant.  In that regard, when we democrats take the no-holds-barred-everyone-but-Obama-is-unreasonable-and-ignorant, we are setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment.

Of course, democrats are humans, and we have good defense mechanisms to prevent us from realizing the reality of the situation.  We blamed Florida.  We blamed Ohio.  We blamed Jed Bush.  We blamed the U.S. Supreme Court.  We blamed the evangelicals.  We blamed the red states.  We blamed everyone except ourselves.

The fact is that then, we didn’t have a strong platform of ideas and values that were accessible by the majority of America . . . because we didn’t listen to what our country was saying.  We casted people that disagreed with us aside — the very people that we needed to win an election and take back our country.

Are we listening now?  Or is it going to be the same old song and dance?