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Freindly Fire’s Biggest Winners Of 2011

It’s that time of year when Freindly Fire heaps praise upon those most deserving.

So in the spirit of consistency, the Biggest Winner of 2011, just like every year, is illegal immigrants. They are granted driver’s licenses, free education – in some cases all the way to college – and free first-rate health care. Not only do they pose a national security threat, but a personal one, as many are criminals released back onto the streets because the government refuses to deport them. Their presence has forced the closure of hospitals, ripped jobs away from American workers, depressed wages and caused taxes to increase sharply.

And let’s not forget that many illegals are voting in our elections. How’s that for irony: foreigners deciding American elections. Maybe that’s why both Parties pander to illegals, including leading GOP candidates Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.

 And every time the illegals win, the American people lose.

Iran

For a country so incompetent that it took a quarter-century just to build a simple subway in its capital, and equally as long to construct the Tehran airport, Iran sure knows how to gain international attention. Year after year, Iran successfully extorts the West, and the U.S. continues to play the Iranians’ game. Now, Iran is threatening to cut off the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway through which one-sixth of the world’s oil supply passes.

And what does America do?  Prepare for yet another armed conflict — with yet another Muslim country.  That would make Iran the eighth — yes, eighth! — Muslim nation the U.S. has attacked since the Clinton Administration — truly a bipartisan debacle. Despite the insanity of this possibility, in which oil could spike to $200 per barrel and decimate whatever is left of the world economy, some talking heads continue advocating such military intervention. Going to war with random Middle Eastern oil nations isn’t sound foreign policy. It’s lunacy.

Here’s an idea. Maybe if we got off our duff and stopped kowtowing to radical environmentalists who offer no solutions, we could pursue energy independence with the virtually unlimited resources literally at our feet.  And guess what happens when we start producing $2 gasoline and diesel? We wouldn’t give a damn about Iran.  Or Iraq.  Or Libya. Or….

 

Rick Perry

Who’d have thought another Texas Governor could be so entertaining?  From taking 12 hours to come up with a response to Mitt Romney’s $10,000 bet, to shrinking the size of the government (apparently, we have only eight Supreme Court Justices and no Department of Energy), Perry has been in a class by himself.

Of course, not knowing the date of the election nor the correct voting age, while priceless, won’t help Perry stay in the race. But his significant campaign cash just might, which would undoubtedly provide more “Oops, I Did It Again” moments. So hats off to the only politician who could make George W. Bush look like Daniel Webster.   

 

Barack Obama

See “Rick Perry” above.  This election is the GOP’s to lose — and they are well on their way to doing so.

 

 

Occupy Movement

Give credit where it’s due.  The Occupy Movement was able to dupe the media (admittedly, not a very hard thing to do) into providing nonstop coverage of…pictures of tents and filth. How newsworthy.

It was bad enough that Occupy had no organization, no spokesman, and absolutely no message.  But for the media to cover, night after night, lazy hippies who thought it cool to camp out, not work and get free things from idiots who thought it politically correct to patronize hobos was nauseating.

So incompetent was the Orgy — I mean Occupy — Movement that it took the media to inject its own rationale for why the “protests” were occurring — income inequity. Well, here’s a newsflash: there is, and should be, income inequality. As in, the person waking up every day at 6AM to work a 12 hour day, should makes more money than a sloth looking for a handout. 

In the immortal words of The Big Lebowski: “Your revolution is over… Condolences. The bums lost. My advice is to do what your parents did — get a job, sir! The bums will always lose!”

 

Andy Reid

Despite commanding an uber-hyped team whose spectacular failure was surpassed only by the Phillies, the best three-quarter coach in football — and the one who game after game commits bush league mistakes that an eighth-grade coach would never make — will absolutely, put-it-in-the-bank-guaranteed be back leading the Philadelphia Eagles next season. Where he leads them is equally predictable: not to a Super Bowl Championship.  Reid has simply been in Philadelphia too long, and has settled into a comfort level where winning The Big One, while nice, isn’t an imperative. He seems content with the moniker of being the winningest coach in franchise history along with all the other superlatives that don’t mean a bloody thing in a town that bleeds Eagle Green.

Reid has proven his value at turning around a franchise, but that is where his usefulness ends. The Eagles should, but won’t, bring in a closer to seal the deal and get the job done — like Jon Gruden did with Tampa Bay. 

So Reid will win another season where his mediocrity will be on full display, and, this being Philly, will undoubtedly be making this list again next year for all the wrong reasons.

 

Archbishop Wood Football

Their season was full of confidence and hope, a fourth straight Catholic League title and a state championship in their sights. Yet Archbishop Wood stumbled in their opener, losing that crucial first game. Many teams would have folded, finding excuses as to why the season was slipping away (READ: 2011 Philadelphia Eagles). But Wood rebounded, and dedicated their efforts to the memory of former legendary coach Skip Duffy, who lost his battle with cancer in September.

And the rest is history. Wood rolled out fourteen straight wins, racking up average margins of 38 points in the regular season and 41 points in the playoffs, culminating in the total evisceration of perennial powerhouse Bishop McDevitt, 52-0 to win the State Championship.  In doing so, Wood has earned a place as arguably the best Class AAA football team ever.

Perhaps Andy Reid and Company should be taking notes from Wood — not plays and calls, but the intangibles that always, always win Championships. Dick Vermeil’s character in the Vince Papale movie Invincible said it best. ”The team with character will find a way to beat a team with talent…great teams weren’t just playing for themselves. They played for a city. The people of Philadelphia have suffered…You are what gives them hope.”

And in times like these, hope is needed more than ever.  Congrats, Archbishop Wood for demonstrating what so many professionals have long ago forgotten — that character still means something.

 

Freindly Fire’s Biggest Losers Of 2011 will appear tomorrow.

 

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

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December 29, 2011 at 9:33 am Comments (0)

Hey Chris Christie: Time To Get Off The Pot!

Here’s a message to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: take care of business or get off the pot.  This “will you or will you not run for President” story has to end — now. Your indecision is hurting the Republican Party, and, ironically, giving Barack Obama a much needed reprieve. The time for games is over…it’s In or Out.

*****

Republican Christie is a firebrand, an extremely effective governor who has done what few thought possible in Jersey: reform bloated pensions, institute public-sector union reforms, and balance the budget without raising taxes. And all that was accomplished while dealing with solid Democratic majorities in both legislative chambers — and a Senate President who is a card-carrying union member. It doesn’t get any more bipartisan, and miraculous, than that.

But more than anything, Christie’s hallmark is his brusque, straightforward style. He truly tells it like it is, from state finances (“the state is going to go broke” without reform) to yelling at people to “get the hell off the beach” before an impending hurricane.

Sure, his style is interpreted by some as in-your-face bullying, but the reality is that Christie is far from a rude person.  He is simply expressing himself and his beliefs in a concise, matter-of-fact way.  And in politics, that is extremely rare.

Most endearing to folks is that Christie speaks from the heart — no teleprompters or note cards. Because of that passion, his sometimes aggressive style belies an extremely articulate leader, one whose charisma has won over more than a few adversaries.  People may not always agree with Chris Christie, but they always know where he stands. As a result, he has become a national figure precisely because he embodies what the American people crave: a leader refusing to dance the Political Two-Step and avoid tough issues.

Until now.

The Governor made a keynote speech this week at the Ronald Reagan Library in California — an event that was covered extensively by the national media.  It provided the golden opportunity to end speculation, once and for all, about presidential ambitions for 2012. In one fell swoop, Christie could have told the country of his intentions, and, in that unmistakable Christie way, put an exclamation point on his decision so that no one would question him again.

But he didn’t.  Instead, he left the door wide open.

In doing so, for the first time, he looked…political. Dare we say it, but it almost seemed like he was doing the Trenton Shuffle.

And that’s not the Chris Christie we know.

His past statements that he is not running for president are meaningless.  All politicians say such things, and it was too early in the process for even Chris Christie to be wholly believed. But it’s a totally different ballgame now. The primary elections begin in just four months, which is barely enough time to raise money, organize a campaign team and execute a ground game. 

Could Christie overcome such obstacles this late in the game? Absolutely — but only if he announces within the next few days. Should he ultimately not run, however, the problem with his non-decision is that it’s hurting the only two Republicans with a shot at the nomination: Rick Perry and Mitt Romney (as no other Republican could realistically enter, and win, the race).

Because of the Christie-factor, significant uncertainty remains among Republican powerbrokers, donors, elected officials, GOP-leaning organizations and grassroots Party faithful. Instead of a clear-cut race, the battle lines remain blurred, so many of these folks are waiting it out on the sidelines, withholding money, effort and endorsements until Christie makes a decision.

As a result, the frontrunners have lost momentum as donations and support are stagnating, and they have been taken “off-message.”  Because of the Christie buzz, anything Perry and Romney say and do is simply white noise.

Most damaging to the GOP, however, is that Barack Obama has been given a reprieve. As President, he is driving the ship, which, given never-ending stream of bad economic news, is listing badly.  So any opportunity that takes the political focus off of himself and the economy is greatly welcomed.  Until the Christie rumor mill is emphatically shut down, the President will be able to regroup and attempt to stabilize his situation. It’s not a panacea, but it certainly helps him.

While that was definitely not the intention of Christie, it is in fact reality.

So one of several things is true:

1) Christie has no intention of running, but is badly underestimating how closely people are hanging on his every word,

2) Christie is definitely running, taking advantage of millions in free media coverage while quietly putting together an organization. While a brilliant strategy, its shelf life is measured in days, and will backfire if played too long. One cannot run a stealth campaign for president.

3) He really hasn’t made up his mind yet.

The last scenario is most troubling, because if a candidate’s heart is not in a race, but chooses to run anyway, he will be a total failure.  The American people can sense that type of insincerity immediately.  Need proof? Ask Fred Thompson. (And conversely, a tip of the hat to Mike Huckabee and Mitch Daniels, who both admitted that they were lacking the fire in the belly in deciding not to run).

I have been fortunate to have had a front row seat covering some of Governor Christie’s triumphs, seeing firsthand the progress one man can make. It would be a shame to see that legacy tarnished by indecision.

So with all due respect, Mr. Christie, given the impending political hurricane, let me paraphrase a popular Governor by saying, “Get the hell in or out of the race!”

 

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia Magazine and nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/national television, most notably on FOX Philadelphia.  He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

 

 

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September 29, 2011 at 12:25 pm Comment (1)

Obama’s Political Obituary Is Premature

Despite scandal and a stagnant economy, he was surging in the polls as the election neared. Against the odds, he had gained enough momentum that victory was within his grasp.

But in the span of one televised debate, a gaffe sealed his fate. Gerald Ford, President of the United States at the height of the Cold War, adamantly stated that the countries in Eastern Europe were free of Soviet domination.  Ballgame over. (But there was a silver lining. Had Ford won, Ronald Wilson Reagan would never have been President).

In 1972, Democratic Senator Edmund Muskie’s campaign for the presidency immediately imploded when he cried during a speech in front of the offices of the Manchester Union Leader, claiming that the paper’s editor unfairly criticized his wife.

And in 1967, a leading Republican presidential contender saw his hopes crushed after saying he was “brainwashed” into supporting the Vietnam War. The otherwise very smart man who said that?  George Romney, father of current candidate Mitt.

The point? At any given time, especially in the world of 24/7 news coverage, a major gaffe can sink an otherwise strong candidate.  So the fact that many Republicans are already writing the President’s political obituary a year out from what will be a close election is not just naïve, but political stupidity.

And it will be a close election.

In addition to the billion dollar war chest the President will have, the most important aspect that commentators and politicians are missing is that the popular vote — and by extension most polls — are meaningless.

The only thing that matters is getting 270 electoral votes, and Obama already has, at a minimum, 164. And when you add the states he will likely win, including electoral prize Pennsylvania, which hasn’t voted Republican in 24 years, that number rises to 224 — just 46 shy of victory.

Is the President’s road difficult? Absolutely.  The economy is in shambles with no possibility of a recovery until an energy policy is instituted, and that simply isn’t going to happen anytime soon.  

Bank failures continue, homes are still being foreclosed at an alarming rate, inflation is rising, and companies not only aren’t hiring (let alone expanding), but are shedding jobs and closing doors.  Merck is laying off 13,000, while Bank of America is jettisoning 30,000 — and that’s just two companies.  Job loss and uncertainty are so commonplace now that the nine percent unemployment rate has become the new norm. America is fast becoming a suburb of France.

And that doesn’t bode well for an incumbent.

So while it is a good bet that Obama will not be re-elected, the “put-it-in-the-bank” GOP mentality can only work to the President’s advantage.  A look at the recent special election for disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner’s seat in New York City tells the story.

A Republican won the seat for the first time since 1920.  Impressive? Yes.  Good for the President’s Party? No.  A harbinger for Obama’s re-election chances? Absolutely not.  But the long-lasting impact of the GOP win? Zero.

For the very few able to step outside of the ridiculous spin zone, a few things are obvious about that race:

1) The Republican winner will either be bounced out next year, or will be re-districted out of Congress.

2) While good for the Republican caucus’ organizational votes, does anyone really think Congressman Bob Turner will vote as a true Republican in an extremely liberal district? 

3) Voters knew the world was watching, and many voted Republican as a public rebuke to Weiner’s extremely salacious behavior.  They did their job, but it will be back to business as usual next year.

4) Many of the Jewish voters wanted to send the President a message that they were displeased over his position regarding Israel. But does anyone really believe they will abandon the President in the general election?  Not a chance.  Yet some political insiders have even suggested that New York state might be in play electorally (as well as states like Maryland).  That thinking is just so out there that I can’t even come up with an appropriate sarcastic response.  Optimism is great, but what’s next? The Iranians holding hands and singing Kumbaya with us? Entertaining as it is, let’s stick with reality. 

5) The Democratic candidate was a boring, uninspiring hack. Which leads us to the next principle in politics: it usually helps to have good candidates.

Barack Obama has certainly not been an effective or popular President.  His policies of Big Government are based on academic theories that simply do not work in the real world, especially in a market-driven economy.  His advisers don’t have a clue, and the Administration keeps going back to the same old playbook that never worked particularly well. The results (although not all his fault) speak for themselves.

That said, he is a great campaigner.  And make no mistake. Running for President and being President are two totally different things.

While Romney and Texas Governor Rick Perry are formidable challengers, neither has been battle-tested in the fire of a presidential general election.  Maybe it will be enough in 2012 for candidates just to have an “R” next to their names. Sometimes that is all that’s needed, but that should never be a strategy, and is no guarantee for success.

For proof, look at the 2010 election — the largest Republican tidal wave since 1946. Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell got be-witched in a lopsided loss, Nevada’s Sharron Angle lost to the unpopular Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid despite the state having the highest unemployment rate in the nation, and Alaska’s Joe Miller lost to incumbent Lisa Murkowski in the general election — by a write-in campaign.  All three were bad candidates, and none of the races were close.

Trite as it sounds, Republicans would be wise to focus on the issues, ignore the spin and stop deluding themselves that 2012 will be a walk in the park. An example of how fickle the political winds are?  Just four months ago, in another New York special election, the Democrats won a long-held Republican seat.  In full spin mode, the Dems declared it a monumental setback for the Republicans and a validation of the President’s vision.

That spin was wrong too.

What these last several election cycles show is that voters, more volatile than ever, are fed up with scandal, bickering and meaningless 30 second sound bites.  They want vision.  They want solutions.  They want action.  And they will reward whomever can best articulate their ideas in a bold, commonsense way — and kick out those who don’t.

Bottom line: while current conditions certainly favor the Republicans, it is entirely too early to put 2012 in the record books for the GOP.

 To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the President’s political death are greatly exaggerated.  If the GOP refuses to recognize that, they do so at their own peril.

An accredited member of the media, Chris Friend is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

 Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia Magazine and nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/national television, most notably on FOX Philadelphia.  He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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September 21, 2011 at 10:17 am Comments (4)

GOP Choices for President And PA U.S. Senate Are Slim

Business As Usual Still Holds In Critical Pennsylvania

“This is the most important election in American history…if we don’t beat Obama and take back the U.S. Senate, the country won’t survive…”

Such is the rallying cry of many Republicans across Pennsylvania and the nation. 

Several things come to mind:

1) The United States will “survive,” even if Barack Obama is elected to a second term. Sure, more spending and bigger government will push the country further down the wrong path, but the GOP would do well to tone down the sky-is-falling rhetoric and concentrate on the actual issues. And for the record, it’s a pretty good bet that America, the most powerful nation the world has ever known, is strong enough to survive a liberal President for a term or two.  If one man really can “destroy” the nation, the ballgame was over long ago.

2) The electorate has shown itself to be extremely volatile, with huge swings in the last three elections.  Those power shifts were not mandates for either side, but a message for Washington to solve the nation’s economic problems.

That trend looks to continue in 2012, and as of now, seems to favor the GOP. In such a “wave,” some candidates will win solely because they have an “R” next to their name. That type of “right place, right time” luck should never be a strategy for victory, but in several key races, that appears to be the GOP plan.

*****

What does it say about the Republican Party that, heading into what should be a banner year, it has only two top-tier presidential candidates (and as of two weeks ago, just one)?

And in the all-important electoral swing state of Pennsylvania, there remains no frontrunner to take on vulnerable freshman senator Bob Casey? As a matter of fact, not only isn’t there a “big name” challenger, there is only one announced candidate, only months before the April primary. (Marc Scaringi, a former Rick Santorum staffer).

While it’s still feasible for candidates to enter either race, it is the fourth quarter, and the clock is running. 

The Iowa caucuses take place in just five months, barely enough time for a late entrant to organize a grassroots ground-game and raise the huge sums necessary to compete. So short of a nationally known figure with a solid track record jumping into the fray (which pretty much comes down to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie), the GOP field is set.

Two candidates? That’s it? In the “most important” election in history to many Republicans, it’s come down to a mere two?  (Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney). 

And before the partisans cry foul about that analysis, let’s be honest about the field.  Congressman Ron Paul has the most loyal supporters, and more than anyone, shapes the debate.  But his numbers will stay the same, not nearly enough to win the nomination.

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, while also having passionate supporters, was dealt a severe blow by Perry’s entry, as many Republicans looking for the “conservative with the best chance of winning” have defected. And neither Paul nor Bachmann have history on their side, as only one congressman has ever been elected president (Garfield).

The rest of the field consists of has-beens and also-rans. None can win and labeling them “second-tier” is being entirely too generous.

At least there were four top-tier candidates in 2008 (McCain, Romney, Giuliani, and Thompson) with guys like Paul and former Congressman Tom Tancredo nipping at their heels.  But to only have one up until recently begs the question: of all the Republicans nationwide, how is it possible to have so few viable candidates?

 *****

On the state level, it’s even worse.

Scaringi is a solid candidate with a firm grasp of the problems facing America, and, truth be told, would be a good U.S. Senator.  And if he wins the nomination by default because no other candidates step up, he may just be that senator if anti-incumbency fever runs high in Pennsylvania. (Although it is important to note that no Casey — father or son — has ever lost a general election).

But he has no name recognition, little money and hails from a sparsely-populated area of the state.

So where is everyone else?

Oh, the Party hierarchy is working hard, doing everything in its power to recruit a wealthy businessman who could self-fund the race, which is codespeak for them not wanting to do their job. Their qualification for Party support? “How big of a check can you write?”

To the business-as-usual establishment, policy positions don’t matter, nor does damn near anything else.  Irrelevant is one’s knowledge of the issues, and how well that person can articulate those positions. 

How long have you been a Republican, and how closely aligned to the GOP platform are you? Can you relate to the voters? Will you run the campaign the way it must be run to win — aka visiting all 67 counties in the dead of winter? And are you a candidate of good character?

All secondary to the Party establishment. The only thing that matters is the size of your wallet.  And that is a major reason why Bob Casey, despite plummeting approval numbers, still maintains the advantage.

Several months ago, this author wrote a column stating that the GOP had no frontrunner to challenge Casey, and was roundly criticized by the same folks who are now scrambling to find a viable candidate.

Some things never change.

And why is that? 

Because the GOP, both nationally and in Pennsylvania, too often choose candidates not on merit — as in, who can best defeat the Democratic opponent —, but instead, on whose “turn” it is or who can fund the race.  In the mold of choosing Bob Dole and John McCain, Pennsylvania’s nominees may look great to Party insiders, but fare dismally when put before the voters. 

There has been little effort to groom candidates for the future, and absolutely no push to stop the hemorrhaging from Philadelphia, where Republican statewide candidates routinely face half-a-million vote deficits.  So now the Party is in the strange position of sitting on massive gains — having won a U.S. Senate seat (Toomey), Governor (Corbett), and winning back the State House (a ten seat majority) — but potentially taking a pass on the Casey seat, which could well be the deciding vote as to which Party controls that legislative body.

You reap what you sow, and the critical harvest is upon the GOP.

The biggest irony is that a strong senate candidate could help put Pennsylvania back in the “red” column nationally, as the state is still in electoral play (Bush lost by only two points in 2004).  And while Republicans can lose Pennsylvania and still win the White House, the same is not the case for the Democrats.  Take the Keystone State away from Obama, and you send him packing.  It’s that simple.

But with scant Republican leadership in Pennsylvania, it’s not a good bet that will happen. Incumbents don’t usually lose unless they’re challenged by viable, first-tier candidates.

With Rick Perry now in the race, Obama is sweating.  But Bob Casey is playing it cool, thankful the GOP is acting like his biggest campaign supporter.

An accredited member of the media, Chris Friend is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countriesand all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications includingThe Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ bestseller “Catastrophe.”

 Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia Magazine and nationally inNewsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/nationaltelevision, most notably on FOX Philadelphia.  He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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September 2, 2011 at 10:46 am Comment (1)