Summit Looks In All The Wrong Places

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"We are going to get George W. Bush re-elected as president of the United States! We are going to carry New York City and New York State. Everybody thinks I'm crazy, but I think we can do it.”—New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent

“You said the time has come to move beyond the bitterness and pettiness and anger that's consumed Washington; to end the political strategy that's been all about division and instead make it about addition - to build a coalition for change that stretches through Red States and Blue States. Because that's how we'll win in November, and that's how we'll finally meet the challenges that we face as a nation.”—U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, a Democrat

Was The Summit A Bust?

The big “bipartisan summit” in Norman started out with a media bang but ended with a whimper.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, once a Democrat, then a Republican and now supposedly an independent, apparently told everyone there he was not going to run for president. Meanwhile, the summit’s participants, Democrats and Republicans, issued a statement that broke no new ground really and actually just echoed what presidential contender Barack Obama and some others have been arguing on the campaign trail now for months.

According to a news report, the summit, organized by University of Oklahoma President David Boren, came to this bland conclusion: Presidential candidates should spell out “specific strategies for reducing polarization and reaching bipartisan consensus.” So this is all we get after all the demands and media hoopla?

(Here is The New York Times take on the summit. Here is some online material produced by those involved with it.)

Boren, a former U.S. Senator from Oklahoma, and Sam Nunn, a former Georgia U.S. Senator, were co-sponsors of the event. Both were considered conservative Democrats during their political careers. A bevy of retired politicians, most of whom served their country in the days before the right-wing noise machine started to define America politics with bogus wedge issues, personal attacks and lies, attended the summit as well.

Some might grant the summit’s organizers were well intentioned and not just providing political cover for Imperial President George Bush supporter Bloomberg to attempt to buy the American presidency. But the summit only raised more issues about its intention. Here are three:

(1) Why did Boren, Nunn and the others wait until now to raise this issue of bipartisanship? Obviously, the tyrannical reign of Imperial Bush has been the number the reason the country is so divided these days. Why wait until the election year? Why didn’t Boren and crew do this after the 2006 elections or before and call on Bush to make changes in his reckless foreign policy agenda and political appointments? Consequently the summit seemed targeted at Democrats. Current polls show Democrats will do much better in the 2008 elections than Republicans. (Obviously, there is a long way to go before the votes are counted, and this might not hold true.) Are Boren and Nunn actually afraid the country might elect a Democrat (maybe even an African American Democrat at that) who will bring about real change? What do they possibly see in a pseudo-Republican/Independent, such as billionaire Bloomberg, who would only protect the interests of corporations and continue the country’s long, gruesome occupation in Iraq. Bloomberg has been a staunch supporter of the Iraq occupation and Bush. Doesn’t that make him as divisive and conservative as, say, presidential contender Rudy Giuliani?

(2) I call on the summit’s participants to personally answer this question: Why do you want to continue to marginalize those people who were 100 percent right about the Iraq invasion and ensuing occupation and spoke out about it with great risk to ourselves and our families? Many of us suffered through retaliation by the right-wing and still do in places such as Oklahoma, where conservatives, even if they call themselves Democrats, hold sway. Meanwhile, those who were wrong about the occupation remain ensconced in power here and elsewhere. (I think of how The New York Times just hired William Kristol, an ultra-conservative who was completely wrong about Iraq, as a columnist.) Are you saying, bigwig summit participants, that those who spoke the truth should now shut up and let those who were wrong continue to operate the government and hold powerful media positions, all in the spirit of bipartisanship? Are you saying we should not protest the occupation as did a small group at the summit Monday. If so, then I question your intentions. Do you want a government and culture in which those who are right and truthful about important national issues can participate fully or do you want the same status quo you seem to be criticizing?

(3) Again, Michael Bloomberg is not a centrist or independent. True, Bloomberg is a moderate on social issues, such as reproductive rights for women, but he has pretty much been a staunch supporter of Imperial Bush, who is the most destructive president in American history. This disqualifies him as a true independent candidate. In addition, the idea that Bloomberg could simply buy the presidency with his billions should be repugnant to all Americans. I argue this act alone—one person buying the presidency simply because he has the money and hubris and gall—would destroy any remaining vestiges of democracy this county might still possess after the Imperial Bush disaster.

This country needs change. Big change. If those Republicans who supported the Imperial Bush administration in the past can find the courage to publicly repudiate its lies and illegal acts, then by all means let’s work together with bipartisan spirit. But the repudiation must come first. Without it, this country will never come together, no matter how many summits, no matter how much hollow political rhetoric. Truth comes first, then politics.

Where’s The Snark?

Usually, when the weather turns unexpectedly cold, The Daily Oklahoman runs a snarky, unsigned editorial arguing or mentioning how global warming does not exist. This is the newspaper’s disingenuous way to support its favorite politician, one of the most despised persons in the world, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, who has devoted his recent career to making Oklahoma the laughingstock of the world. Inhofe calls global warming a “hoax.”

Okay, so a record high temperature of 75 was set in Oklahoma on Sunday. It is winter. It is 75. So where is The Oklahoman snark about how Inhofe is all wrong about global warming since it got hot one day during the winter?

The obvious point here is you cannot gauge climate change based on the temperature for any given day, but try to tell this to Inhofe or the simpleton, warmongering editorial writers over on the Broadway Extension.



First – The Bloomberg quote from what I’m assuming was 2004.
At the time Bloomberg was a Republican, so the fact that he supported W is not that surprising. And to be completely honest, it’s not like we, the Democrats, provided the country with a good candidate in Kerry.

Second – The war.
One can be a centrist and still support the war in Iraq. We can debate until the cows come home the how’s and why’s we got there but at this point we are there and we should do everything in our power to leave the Iraqi people in a better place than they were when we invaded. The way I see it, they were in a bad place before the US invaded but they knew how the game worked and how to get by. Since the US invasion that has been blown to kingdom come and I think we have a moral obligation to help the Iraqi people come to terms with this new situation and help them establish a stable government and society. I know that I may be an optimist in this and it may not be possible, but that’s just how I see it.

Third – Imperial Bush
I really don’t like that term, but what I like even less is the abuse of powers that have transpired under this administration. The Executive Branch has been propped up to Nixon-era power levels and that frightens me and should frighten everyone in this country. In fact the argument that I use against those who say that Bush and co. haven’t done anything wrong is “Do you want Hillary doing the things that W is doing?”

Fourth – The timing.
I obviously don’t know for a fact, but I don’t think that the timing for this meeting should be called into question. Why now? Why not? With this being and election year, the general population will, in theory at least, be more prone to listen to the kind of arguments and statements that were made at this summit.

Fifth – The snark.
While I don’t like Inhofe at all, I also do not 100% buy into all of the global warming talk. Have the actions of humanity caused great harm to this planet? Heck yes, that much is obvious. Have said actions been the sole cause of climate change? I don’t know. I truly don’t think we know enough about the long term weather patterns of this planet to be able to say that beyond a shadow of a doubt, humanity’s use of fossil fuels has caused the climate to warm or cool. Honestly I believe that the environmental movement has lost its way a long time ago. I’ve considered myself an environmentalist for nearly 20 years; I recycle everything humanly possible in my house, I drive a small economical car (it’s not a hybrid but it is efficient), and I use florescent light bulbs in my home. To me environmentalism should be able cleaning up the earth and stopping the destruction of the rain forests but instead the current members of the movement have become obsessed with global warming. I’m sorry but I cannot take Al Gore seriously. Bill Nye can preach to me about being environmentally friendly and I will listen, but Hollywood stars that jump on their soap boxes and ride around in their private jets can piss off. If the environmental community would just focus on cleaning up the planet, stopping pollution, and saving the rain forests, then the global warming worries would take care of themselves and no one would be able to provide a valid argument against their goals and objectives.

Sorry about the rant, but you touched on a few things that I felt compelled to respond to. :o)


I'm quite certain that these "centrist" posers are flummoxed by the outcome in Iowa, and now the expected outcome in New Hampshire, South Carolina, etc.

They fully expected Hillary Clinton to be the nominee, and the resulting political bifurcation (caused solely by one side: the Clinton Wars, Part Deux) would allow them to step in to the breach, "saving" the country from that great evil, partisanship. In that regard, at least, I'm grateful to the Obama phenomenon.

Look, people disagree about stuff; Politics is supposed to be the (relatively) civil organization and management of such disagreement. If it's so abhorrent to these silly people, why did they choose it as a career?