Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Palin Disaster

My friends, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska has turned out to be quite the disaster.

There are so many reasons why after a couple month acting as the Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin has failed. First off let me say that she did a great job energizing the Republican base. I'm talking about those die-hard Republican voters who were a little apprehensive of Senator McCain's maverick attitude and record. She brought those Republicans into the fold and gave them a person to cheer on as well as well as acting as a symbol of John McCain's efforts to reach out to evangelical and far-right Republicans. She was needed to rally the (relatively new) base of the Republican Party and liven up the Convention. Then...

What happened after that?

Negativity - Sarah Palin came out swinging at the Convention... although I didn't appreciate some of her more unfair attacks, I understand that is a part of her job as a Vice-Presidential candidate. Remember, I just said "part" of her job, not ALL of it. Since the RNC she has not stopped and the attacks are getting a wider scope. Wat started with attacking Obama has widened to include Biden, the Democrats, people who vote Democratic, and finally all people who live in states that vote Democratic. I can understand the first two but attacking voters who don't live in "Real America" (the part of America that votes "R") is just plain ridiculous. McCain ought to smack her upside the head and remind her that he needs Democrats and Independents to vote for him if he wants to beat Obama. Remember, in most large campaigns the key is Independents.

Lack of Experience - Gov. Palin's lack of experience and knowledge robbed the McCain camp from their most honest and sincere attack of Barack Obama, his lack of experience. Obama has had a few years in the Illinois State Senate and four more in the US Senate, not a whole lot when lined up side by side to the Senior Senator of Arizona. Obama has never been a Committee chairman or had a leadership role within the Senate unlike Sen. McCain. I know, I know.. some say this argument is weak because of other factors that can make up for experience.. but the attack is a honest and clean one. When Gov. Palin arrived at the scene this argument disappeared. I know one of the talking points often used by Palin fanatics is that she has more "executive experience" but let's face it small town mayor, PTA member, an undergrad degree (barely) from 5 different colleges/universities/community colleges, and then two years as Governor do not stack up nicely against Law School, State Legislature and US Senate experience. Remember folks, quality not quantity. Her lack of experience and knowledge of federal government and its inner workings in certainly something that could be remedied with a few months on the job but the same could be said of Sen. Obama and that takes away all the experience attacks that we heard between the end of the Democratic nomination and the pick of Palin.

Scandal/Ethics - Adding someone as your running mate whose name is already embroiled in a scandal involving family and government firing in her home state by well-respected members of the state is risky. Same goes for someone is known for clearly rewarding friends with government positions is also risky. Doing both is well... plain stupid. The Palin disaster really begins with her actions in Alaska, which although seems far away, from the "lower 48" as they call us, is still going to get into the news. Sen. McCain's image is that of a reformer who wants to change Washington and sweep out dirty deals and dirtier politicians not pick one who has used millions in earmarks, fires state troopers at will, and hires cronies. He bruised his own image and once again opened up an attack route that the Obama campaign could use on him without fear of much of a counter-attack.

Not Press Friendly - When a candidate is ahead in the polls they suddenly make like a clam and shut up when it comes to the press - no need to give the press material to snipe you with. When you are behind you talk, talk, talk until the press give you free coverage and buddy up to you.

Celebrity - Sarah Palin came up too quick. Usually the position of Vice President means that after the President serves his/her four or eight years, the Vice President can run with all of their new found experience and support. That's why an experienced Presidential nominee would pick a less known person to be their running mate, to bolster their own weaknesses and sort of give future direction to their own party. By the selection of John McCain of Palin he has for all intents and purposes rocketed Sarah Palin to rock star status amongst Republicans and that's not good. Sarah Palin is a rural white who governs a rural mostly white state in its own region, that doesn't play well with the majority of the electorate. Come 2012 if McCain doesn't win or 2016 if he does, the Republican nomination is almost certainly going to include Sarah Palin's name and with her popularity already she may just win... which means that unless a miracle occurs or the demographics of the US suddenly and rapidly go to the rural areas (and non-whites disappear), Republicans will lose again. She is now a political celebrity, and why? What has she done to deserve Republican recognition? When did she do something impressive or gutsy that earned her major political cred? Why should I listen to her? She is a Governor. I would even venture to say a pretty good one for Alaska (outside of the ethics scandal). That shouldn't make her a star in a political party, that makes her semi-important but not a star

Conclusion - In conclusion, I wasn't a big fan of Palin, then I got to know her and I have decided that I both like her a lot less and that she is losing this election for John McCain, a man I respect very much.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tim Clare: Humorist par Excellance & Candidate for NE Regent

I know that I haven't posted here in awhile (over two months actually) but I've been working on a doozy of a story about the State Department as well as actually physically working for a campaign this election cycle.

There was something though in my inbox that caught my eye and I had to share. It seems that I receive regular emails from nearly every campaign, PAC, and political party in Nebraska and I try to read most of the ones I get. (That being said, DO NOT sign me up for Scott Kleeb's email list, I will find you and I will laugh in your face)

So, I was rummaging through my spam folder when I found an email from one Tim Clare, candidate for University of Nebraska Regent. He seems like a decent and knowledgeable guy and I opened his email. It was titled "NU Regent Candidate Tim Clare sets the Record Straight‏", alright.. he has been hammered by his opponent recently. Then I go on to read a long diatribe or rhetoric about his conservative position on stem-cell research (that he shares with all of the Nebraska Congressional delegation.) Wonderful.

He also list a bunch of doctors that support him. Here's a copy of what he has written:

Locally, please note that the following doctors are supporting my candidacy:

Dr. Deepak Gangahar
Dr. Mike Duggan

Dr. Alan Berg
Dr. Susan Hansen

Dr. Dave Clare
Dr. Tim Govaerts

Dr. Cory Friesen
Dr. Marc Koenig

Dr. Kurstin Friesen
Dr. Steve Ackerman

Dr. Doug Netz
Dr. Walter Duffy

Dr. Steve Nagengast
Dr. Phil Essay

Dr. Paul Petersen
Dr. Joe Petty

Dr. James Gallentine
Dr. Bill Johnson

Dr. Sandy Gallentine
Dr. Chuck Reese

Dr. Keith Miller
Dr. Clark Antonson

Dr. Jeff Tomjack
Dr. Rob Rhodes

Dr. Pat Clare
Dr. Rex Largen

Dr. Marlon Weiss
Dr. Mike Ferris

Dr. Steve Martin
Dr. Ameeta Martin

Dr. Mark Heibel
Dr. Scott Noel

Dr. Scott Strasburger
Dr. Nate Green

Dr. Alan Nissen
Dr. Sushil Lacy

Dr. Tom Tegt
Dr. Bob Byington

Dr. Greg Sutton
Dr. Kent Reckewey

Dr. Mike Germer
Dr. Eric Crimmins

Dr. Doug Dalke
Dr. Scott Donkin

Dr. Tom Heiser
Dr. Dave Hilger

Dr. Mark Hinrichs
Dr. Max Linder

Dr. Bill Nye
Dr. Herb Reese

Dr. Bob Shoettger
Dr. Jerry Spethman

Dr. Jerry Tanner
Dr. Harry Tolly

Dr. Don Walla
Dr. James Weesner

Dr. Paul Zuercher

[Note: Emphasis is mine]

So, let's see here, Mr. Clare. Amongst the 55 doctors that "locally" support you:

  • Two are related directly to you [See Dr. Pat Clare, Dr. Dave Clare
  • Several of these "doctors" are actually people with MDs- such as Dr. Bob Schoettger - notice it is mis-spelled above without the 'c', who is a great guy and gifted dentist
  • A comedian - Dr. Steve Martin - just kidding, he is the CEO of Blue Cross/Blue Shield Nebraska who lives in Omaha and has donated the max ($2,000) to President Bush in 2000, is a lukewarm supporter of McCain '08 ($500), as well as an enormous supporter of Ben Nelson 2004-06 ($5,500)
  • and, Dr. Bill Nye (not, the science guy!) Who it turns out, along with his wife, are huge Chuck Hagel fans (they give him 500+ & 1000+ dollars in his elections, respectively) as well as being McCain 2000 fans
The list is long and filled with some great folks who may not fit the traditional interpretation of the term "doctor" or "local". The race is on.. and Mr. Clare's email definitely added some interesting angles and a moment of humor into the horse race.


The original press release on Tim Clare's website is here

CNN Commentary: So what if Obama was a Muslim or an Arab?

I was in the middle of writing a new post about Gov. Palin when I went to the CNN website.. and read Campbell Brown's commentary.

Please click the link, read it in its entirety and comment back here on what you think of it.

Commentary: So what if Obama was a Muslim or an Arab? - CNN

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

DOW under 10K & Cronyism Watch!

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped below 10,000 for the first time in four years. Guess that means that bailout/rescue bill didn't suddenly ignite the investing engine of the United States middle/upper class. Kind of a sad time with all the bouncing up and down of the stock markets. With the future of the market looking so rocky, this definitely isn't the best time to get in.

Nancy Gibbs writes a very poignant and well thought out article for Times magazine about the true winners of the financial crisis: frugal financial conservatives. I agree with her, the fact that there have been few voices that have encouraged the American people to do something that led to our financial might, save money, is disconcerting. After 9/11 we all remember President Bush telling us that the best way to fight back against the terrorists was to "go shopping". Now, while we are in a crisis it has still been the Administration's message that a reduction in spending is a sign of our economies weakness although our US savings rate has been going negative since late 2000. The only other time the US went negative in their savings rate was a period during the early 1930's... remember how that turned out? Not Pleasant.

Maybe more people should be listening to the Concord Coalition, one of personal favorite groups, when they talk about how saving and paying down the national debt instead of adding on 4 trillion (thanks, President George W Bush) can lead to a return to financial safety. Who would have predicted that spending more than we earn would lead to a credit crisis? I mean.. who'da thunk it?

The last item is today's Cronyism Watch:

Treasury Secretary fresh off his victory in passing a bailout bill (although not quite as empowering as he'd have liked) has decided that with that legislative mandate he'd do something that has become commonplace in this Bush Administration, hire friends and people from the industry to regulate themselves.

Paulson hired Neel Kashkari to oversee the Troubled Assets Relief Program and the newly created Office of Financial Stability. Mr. Kashkari worked as assistant Treasury secretary for International Economics and Development and had joined the Treasury Dept. in July 2006 and worked on several of Treasury's initiatives in response to the housing crisis - including the formation of the mortgage industry alliance Hope Now.

So, this fellow was suppose to be stopping the sub-prime mortgage crisis from developing further.. by forming an alliance of the people who got us into the mess to begin with. Wonderful. I guess his HUGE success in stopping any further problems from erupting got him his promotion to assistant Secretary and now his throne as the dispenser of 250 BILLION dollars by December 31st, 2008. Nice. So failure has been rewarded with promotion and powers never thought possible in US Financial history.

Seems like a typical Bush Administration story.. but something doesn't seem right.. It just isn't dirty enough. Was he someone important's roommate? Did he help someone cheat or hold great parties? Did he give/raise huge amounts of money for someone's campaign? Nah.. not really. Hmm.. well what did Financial Czar Kashkari do before he dedicated his life to public service at the Treasury Department in 2006? What's that? OH, HE WAS AN Vice-Presidential EXECUTIVE AT GOLDMAN SACHS! It seems as though Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, himself a former topman at the Goldman Sachs firm, has been filling the Treasury chock full of his former buddies from Goldman Sachs. Paulson’s inner circle already includes former Goldmanites Dan Jester, a financial institutions banker, and retired banker Steve Shafran, who focused on corporate restructuring at Goldman. It also included Robert Steel, who has since left Treasury to become CEO of Wachovia.

I know that a bit of cronyism is perfectly normal in politics. Every politician, and in fact normal person, wants to surround themselves with people they trust. When it comes to the government though that person should also be able to do the job they were hired to do in a fair and competent manner. One would think that the ultimate picture of cronyism and nepotism was JFK appointing his brother, RFK, to be Attorney General but guess what? RFK was competent and did an OK job. FEMA headman Micheal "Heckuva Job Brownie" Brown was not.

What a joke this Administration has become. We have come to expect the worse from the Government and not even hope for a change. Whoever the next President may be, I wish them luck cleaning up that mess. They are going to need it.

Paulson taps bailout chief - CNN Money

Feel free to comment, I'd love to hear what you think!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Palin.. in Omaha

Who: Sarah Palin
What: A pep rally with your favorite moose hunter/hockey mom/pit bull/Alaskan Governor/Energy expert/Vice presidential candidate/Average Joe Six-Pack/Russian expert/woman
When: 6pm - Sunday, October 5th, 2008
Where: Omaha Civic Auditorium

Sarah Palin is coming... to Omaha? Yes that's right. The second district, where Obama has recently moved paid staff to try to capture their single electoral vote, will be receiving a visit from Gov. Sarah Palin today.

Why? The McCain campaign is looking to appear strong ever since they pulled out of Michigan and abandoned that state to Democrats. Now that Obama has the upper hand in the election the McCain camp is looking to hit him in other places in order to either strengthen areas that were thought to be solid or areas beginning to drift in the "wrong" direction.

Some have said that it was because the NE Republican party was somehow scared of a defeat of one or more of the Congressional offices going to a Democrat. Don't believe that bunk. Mike Johanns is looking to defeat Scott Kleeb in the Senate race by a margin of at least 15 points and Lee Terry is looking strong in the District 2 House race without much chance for defeat.

If you go look for "maverick" Palin to talk about bipartisanship for a little while before slamming Obama for the next hour. It is very possible that she will use her Obama is a "pal" to William Ayers for a third time in her speech. Mostly, if you go - enjoy yourself, listen, and tell us what you thought of it.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hagel's Farewell Speech

What a sad day for the Senate and for Nebraska. Here is the transcript of Sen. ChuckHagel's farewell speech to the Senate:

Mr. President, thank you. And I am very pleased that you are in the chair this afternoon, and for those who are not aware of the fact, Nebraska's entire senate delegation is on the floor today, the one who will soon become the senior senator presiding. So thank you, Mr. President.

I would like to begin my remarks this afternoon acknowledging four of our colleagues who will be leaving the senate along with me at the end of this congress, the 110th Congress. And then make some additional comments.

This body will lose two of the most respected, highly regarded consensus builders in the history of this body. And I speak of the senior Senator from New Mexico, Senator Domenici, and the senior Senator from Virginia, Senator Warner. Between the two of these distinguished national leaders, they have given the senate and this country 70 years of service. Most Americans are aware of senators Domenici and Warner and the contributions they've made. Those of us who have had the privilege of serving with these two individuals know what they have meant to our country.

They have been role models, leaders, men of conscience, of vision, of integrity, of courage. And all of those most valued human characteristics have been evident when America has needed them most. For their voice, and their courage and their vision, we thank them– for the kind of men they are and the senators they have been, we thank them. We are all much enriched by our association with senators Warner and Domenici, and this country will miss them greatly. But they leave strong legacies. They leave men and women who have been touched by their leadership and their values and will carry on behind them, emulating their leadership and their vision.

I wish also to recognize one of my classmates that I came to the senate with 12 years ago. He is our neighbor from the west, the senior Senator from Colorado, Wayne Allard. Aside from Senator Allard and Colorado usually taking Nebraska's water, we find little to quarrel with in the kind of work that Senator Allard has done for his state and our country. I've had an opportunity to serve 12 years with Senator Allard on the banking committee. His very steady performance, leadership--he will be missed on that committee, as well as the other committees he serves on and has been very active in, as my colleague in the chair knows who served with him as well on the armed services committee; and his leadership on the budget committee in particular will be missed. And I wish to acknowledge that friendship and that leadership of Senator Allard.

The fourth member of the senate who will be leaving along with me is the senior Senator from Idaho, Larry Craig. I have had an opportunity to work with senator Craig over the years on environmental issues, energy issues, trade issues, agriculture issues. And there have been few who have been as forceful and important a voice on behalf of those critical challenges to our country.

Senator Craig, Senator Allard, Senator Warner, Senator Domenici all leave the United States Senate a better institution for their service.

On January 7, 1997, I took an oath of office here in the United States senate, an oath to the constitution, and I became the 1,841st person who has ever served in the United States Senate. That number struck me that day because I recognized, once again, and soon to come to truly appreciate over a 12-year period in this body, how few people have had the opportunity, the privilege, the honor, to serve in the united states senate. Less than 2,000 Americans in the history of our country have served in the United States Senate.

That doesn't make us better. That doesn't mean we're smarter, or in any way more privileged. But what it does do is reflect upon the kind of responsibility that we have in this body and the expectations that are placed on each of us, as should be the case, for our service.

I first thank the people of Nebraska for the privilege that I've been given to serve in this body for 12 years. I thank my staff, not for their service to me, but for their service to this country. I thank my colleagues, republicans and democrats, who I have learned so much from over these 12 years. In particular, Senators Lugar and Biden, who I have learned much from in serving with them on the senate foreign relations committee for the last 12 years. Who have been patient with me, who helped me, as well as their staffs.

The two leaders of this body, Senators Reid and McConnell, I wish to thank them. I have had privileged relationships with each. Senator McConnell and I have grown to have a very close relationship, friendship, and I very much value that relationship. And I thank Senator McConnell for his many courtesies over the years, as I do senator Reid. These two men are charged with great responsibilities. And especially over the last two years during as difficult a Congress certainly that I've served in, and I suspect most of my colleagues have served in, they have done a remarkably good and effective job.

Certainly I thank my family for this privilege and their support and their guidance. And they, too, have been privileged, and enriched, and enhanced by being part of this experience over the last 12 years.

These last 12 years have been years of global reorientation and historic events. And as I have represented Nebraskans during these turbulent times, I have formed judgments and drawn conclusions about America's future.

The strength of any country is its people. Constitutions, governments, public and private institutions are important for they form the structure of a society. The boundaries of social behavior. But it is the people, the individuals, who make the difference in life and in the world.

Americans possess a generous spirit and uncommon decency predicated on faith and family, hard work, fair play, and belief in a better tomorrow. The challenges that face America today and in the future are not just American challenges but global challenges. Everything we do or don't do has global implications, just as everything that happens around the world has implications for us here in our country.

The United States Senate is a unique institution. It is unique among all the governing bodies of the world. It's imperfect. It's slow. It's tedious. It's sometimes maddening. Certainly frustrating. But the brilliance of our forefathers understood completely and carefully, how, I don't know, that the world would at some point come together with a great confluence of complications. And to have a body whose main responsibility would be to take the longer view -- the longer view of legislation, the longer view of actions, the longer view of alliances, of relationships, of all our policies, was its primary focus.

Tough questions. Questions about consequences of actions, consequences of inaction. That is the essence of the united states senate. And the many lessons I've learned in the 12 years I've been here reinforced my belief in our country, but also reinforced my belief in these institutions, and in particular the Congress of the United States.

For the essence of public confidence is transparency and accountability. That is our institutional responsibility. It is our individual responsibility. And if free people know the facts, if free people are living in a world where there is transparency, where there is accountability, that society will prosper. It will fix its problems. And it will deal with its injustices. Oversight, which we hear much about these days–especially in light of the financial crisis that we are in today–oversight, accountability, is a critical component of our responsibilities.

Article I of the constitution is about the Congress. We are a co-equal branch of government. And if anything I've learned in the 12 years I've been here is the importance of sharing, participating in the governance of our country, being part of that governance, helping make decisions with the president and the executive. If one of those articles of the constitution, and there are three, that set up the co-equal branches of government, the legislative, executive, the judicial. Any time there is an imbalance in governance in a republic, and one of those three becomes too powerful and the other too weak or one too weak, there will be a consequence. There will be a reaction. And it will not tilt in favor of an accountable transparent, open, effective government.

So it's like all things in life, we strive for balance. We strive for balance of governance and the founders of the constitution, this great republic had that as much the central focus as any one part of our government.

I believe this institution, the congress, will be tested more over the next few years. We need a strong president. We need a strong executive. For it is the president and the executive that we charge to carry out the policies that are made and shaped on behalf of the American people in the congress of the united states. They must have the flexibility. They must have the authority to carry those out. But not without the act of participation and partnership of the Congress of the United States. In my opinion, over the last few years, we have allowed that to drift. And I believe it has cost our country dearly.

I've also learned this lesson: bipartisan consensus is the only way a democracy will work. No party has a corner on all of the virtues, nor all the answers. A country of 300 million free people who have every right to express themselves, question their leaders, question their government, must at the end of the day somehow find some accommodation, some consensus to govern, and thereby address the issues and challenges and problems that face our country.

Without that bipartisan consensus, we end in the underbrush of political paralysis. And much of what we have seen in the last two years has been, unfortunately, about political paralysis. We all have to take some responsibility for that. Bipartisan consensus, that has to be the focus of leadership in any institution.

I've learned, also, that a free press is indispensable to a free people. As frustrating as we all know in this business the press can be–sometimes we believe we are treated unfairly, maybe sometimes we are. But there is no substitute in a democracy for a free press. A free press is the indispensable element for a free people.

I've learned, too, that power corrupts. Lord Acton had it right: power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. That doesn't mean we are a nation or body or an institution of corrupt people, or of bad people. But the more authority that's concentrated in too small a space is going to end up with an effect that is not in the best interest of a free people. Concentrations of power in the hands of a few is dangerous to a democracy. We all, who exercise some power as national leaders, must be mindful of this reality and stay vigilant to this reality.

The next president, who will assume as big an inventory of challenges and problems as any president, in my opinion, since Franklin Roosevelt on March 4th, 1933, must immediately reach to the congress to make the congress a partner, regardless of who the new president is, reach to the American people and begin building a consensus of governance in this country. There will be differences, there will be strong debates. There must be, should be. But in the end we must reach some objective, some end point, and that is to fix a problem.

We did that last night on the floor of the United States Senate. Not that what we passed in this economic stabilization act will fix all the problems. It won't. But it is important that America, our markets, the world bring back some confidence in our governance and our systems, thereby bringing all that does flow from that confidence in our market system the elements of commerce and trade and the possibilities to build a better life.

This next president will be faced with those challenges; so will this next congress. I believe that that will occur. Not just because the American people expect it and demand it, but they deserve it. And I don't think the next president or the next congress will fail. There is no perfect solution. No easy answer. But that's why we have leaders. That's why we have governance.

I want to go back to accountability for a moment. Because that is such an elemental part of anyone's life. And we're all accountable in life, our personal lives, private lives, public lives. We're all accountable to someone.

I want to read a very short statement. As a matter of fact I have this hanging in my reception room in my office. This was a handwritten statement that was found in the coat pocket of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was found at the cleaners. And this was a note that he wrote in his hand that he had on June 6th, 1944, the beginning of the Normandy Invasion, the invasion of Europe. We all recall that was d-day.

This was what then General Eisenhower, who was the commanding general wrote, in the event that d-day was a failure:

"our landings have failed and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air, and the navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone."

Now that is accountability. That is accountability. This one simple, honest, handwritten statement should be as much a guiding point for all of us in public office as any one thing.

I've also learned over the last 12 years that democracy actually does work. As raw as it is, it works. We in politics, we in government, government itself, the institution of government only reflects society. Politics reflects society. We respond, we react in a democracy. But the countervailing pressures, the countervailing dynamics, the countervailing debates, and philosophies, and opinions, and positions, they balance the wheel in a remarkable way. I'm not near wise enough to understand it all. I've observed it, I've participated in it for up to 12 years. It works. It works. That's why transparency is so important. So the American people can see it, and feel it, and understand it, and be part of it.

We live in an imperfect world. This are no perfect solutions. We are all imperfect people. But institutions are important because within the imperfect world, and in the process of trying to make a better world, maybe some day a perfect world, process is important because it gets us to where we want to be. It's a highway. It's a process. And we do that well here, as well as anywhere in the world. And we're always striving to make it better.

I occasionally think about this great republic–how it was formed, when it was formed. A couple of things fairly recent come to mind when we think of less than 100 years ago. Women -- women in America could not vote. Less than 100 years ago women did not have right to vote. But we addressed that, we fixed that. We fixed it through amendment 19 in our constitution.

Up until the mid 1960's, does anyone really believe that an African-American had any hope or possibility to be a nominee for president of the united states? Maybe even be president some day? The voting rights act, civil rights act of the mid 60's changed that. So we know the system can work.

These are defining times. We are living through a global reorientation. And one of the great responsibilities this body will have, the next president will have, we all will have, is to reintroduce America to the world. The world does not know who we are. Part of that's our fault. Part of that's not our fault. 6.5 billion people, 40% of those 6.5 billion under the age of 19 years old. Most people alive today were not alive during or after world war II. This can be done. It must be done. America is a great country because we are a good people.

I'd like to take my last minute in my comments today to read from a poem that I have distributed to friends and staff for 30 years. I do not know the author of this poem, and I never have. And i have never found out who the author of this poem is. But I have put it on a piece of glass and distributed hundreds and hundreds of copies to people I have worked with over the years, different things I've done.

And I end my remarks, Mr. President, this way this afternoon, by reciting this poem entitled, "The man in the glass," because it reflects on each of us. But most poignantly, it reflects on each of us who has a responsibility to serve the public and be accountable and honest:

When you get what you want in your struggle for self,

And the world makes you king for a day

Just go to the mirror and look at yourself

And see what that man has to say.

For it isn't your father or mother or wife

Whose judgment upon you must pass

The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life

Is the one staring back in the glass.

You may be like Jack Horner and chisel a plum

And think you're a wonderful guy

But the man in the glass says you're only a bum

If you can't look him straight in the eye.

He's the fellow to please, never mind all the rest

For he's with you clear to the end

And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test

If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years

And get pats on the back as you pass

But your final reward will be heartache and tears

If you've cheated the man in the glass.

Mr. President, thank you. I yield the floor.