Aim Higher

“Aim higher. You don’t need to talk. They are American citizens. They won an election. Take on their policies. The bottom line here is this is a diverse country.”

Part of a statement from Senator Lindsey Graham during a recent interview on Fox & Friends.

“He said, ‘Aim higher. Shoot higher.’ What am I going to do? Wait until we get somebody else in a higher position? A higher office? These are people that hate our country.”

A portion of President Trump’s response to Senator Graham’s call to tone down the rhetoric.

While I could go on ad nauseam about my extreme disappointment with the senator from South Carolina who once fashioned his political behavior after that of the late John McCain, even I don’t believe that presidential apologist and lackey Lindsey Graham was suggesting that the President set his sights on someone in an elected office higher than the four freshmen female members of Congress who were the most recent recipients of Mr. Trump’s bigotry and bogus patriotism.

Perhaps I’m being a bit old-fashioned, but during my lifetime when our presidents talked about improving our aim, it meant walking that high road, taking that next hill, or even reaching the Moon! As we take the time this weekend to celebrate the achievements of all those who brought about the success of the Apollo 11 mission, and to remember the martyred President that united all Americans behind a common goal of placing human beings on the lunar surface, I find the present state of our national discourse disgusting and disheartening.

A well placed wood carving behind the bar of McSorley’s Old Ale House in lower Manhattan bears the following warning for those patrons who might be lacking in proper tavern etiquette “Be good or be gone.” We are privileged to live in a country where a bartender has the right to tell unruly customers to go back from whence they came, but a president, or for that matter any elected official, is bound by their oath of office to accept, tolerate, and even embrace anyone who exercises their rights to legally express their dissatisfaction with the conditions of this 243 year old establishment called America. It would appear that the longevity and prosperity of both taverns and countries depends upon their ability to better serve the needs of an ever changing neighborhood.

Even McSorley’s, a place that had served the enlightened likes of Abraham Lincoln and Woody Guthrie during its long storied history, finally relented on its own bit of provincial prejudice by opening its doors to women clientele in 1970. Today every freshmen member of Congress would gladly be welcomed!

As for the President’s lack of welcome to the ladies of the House, many of his critics have used his latest Twitter feed channeling of McCarthyism as ironclad proof of his blatant racism. While I am not yet fully prepared to commit to that particular point of view, I am of the opinion that what he has done might even be worse than racism. Any politician that seeks to maintain their power and position by pandering to those who are the victims of their own fears and insecurities is guilty of committing an even more reprehensible act!

There is always the hope that through experience and a greater understanding of those differences that divide us, even the most hardened heart will conclude that we are all equal in this life and the next. But demagogues almost always take their ways to the grave.

Thankfully though, our Constitution provides that the person in the voting booth enjoys the same power as that person behind the bar. It’s simply a matter of …

Posted by Chris Poh for American Public House Review

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Sunset Over Sedona

Cathedral Rock Above Oak Creek - Sedona, Arizona

Cathedral Rock Above Oak Creek – Sedona, Arizona

“I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s, I loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. I was never the same again; I wasn’t my own man anymore; I was my country’s.”   An excerpt from John McCain’s 2008 Republican National Convention speech.

Beyond the backyard, childhood fantasies inspired by those tall in the saddle gents that dominated the small screen of my family’s television set on most Saturday afternoons, I was always a bit leery of putting too much stock in the idea of there being such a thing as a true American hero. While I was that typical male child that always appreciated a slow drawl and a fast gun, even then I sensed the danger of letting ones view of reality being shaped too much by the painted sunsets, fan assisted tumbleweeds, and cattle town facades of Southern California. And as to those towering figures that stood at the podium, the pulpit, or at home plate – I realized that success and failure was only a matter of a bad call or the next swing of the bat. So my handful of heroes could almost fit into the hand of a newborn. But among that very short list will always appear the name of Senator John McCain!

John McCain and Ted KennedyWhile countless others have experienced the almost unimaginable physical and psychological pain endured by John McCain while held in captivity, few could forgive their captors–and even fewer would promote reconciliation and a working relationship with their former enemies. But this was a profound human being whose reach could always extend across the aisle, and when necessary for the sake and wellbeing of all–that reach would cross oceans. In triumph and in tragedy he always maintained his sense of purpose and his unique sense of humor. And he never wavered in his service to both country and humanity. I feel very blessed to have stood under some of those same western sunsets that the senator from Arizona so loved. And I am so very grateful to live in a nation that could give rise to the likes of a John Sydney McCain!

Prior to their parting repast at the City Tavern, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 gathered one last time at the Philadelphia Statehouse to sign the document that would serve as the blueprint for our attempt at democratic governance. Among those early American founding mavericks was the esteemed Doctor Benjamin Franklin. Before taking his leave, he made the following observation about the carving of the sun that had adorned the back of the chair at which George Washington had sat while presiding over the assembled body during the nearly four months of contentious debate:

The Rising Sun Chair

 “I have often looked at that picture behind the president without being able to tell whether it was a rising or setting sun. Now at length I have the happiness to know that it is indeed a rising, not a setting sun.”

The sun will once again rise above Sedona, and John McCain will continue to serve this country in death as he did in life. His ghost will haunt those who merit a haunting–and his spirit will inspire those who are worthy of inspiration.

Commander John Sidney McCain

 

 

To this very honorable statesman and sailor we bid fair winds and following seas!

 

 

 

Posted by: Chris Poh for American Public House Review

Walk Softly, But Pour Me a Big Drink

All new states are invested, more or less, by a class of noisy, second-rate men who are always in favor of rash and extreme measures, but Texas was absolutely overrun by such men.”      Sam Houston 

Bully!

Bully!

 I just completed another ninety plus minutes in purgatory listening to our presidential candidates debate. As was the case after last week’s debate, I find myself in need of a potent libation!

John McCain did in a couple of instances make some reference to Teddy Roosevelt. So I figured why not drink what a true reformer, regulator and founder of The Bull Moose Party would have consumed after a night of listening to political babble. Unfortunately, I could not get my hands on a bottle of absinthe. It seems Teddy had a penchant for the Green Fairy. But then I recalled that the fabled leader of The Rough Riders, according to some disputed accounts, had developed an affinity for the Cuba Libre during his exploits against the Spanish. 

 

So I think I’ll squeeze some limes, grab a coke, crack open a bottle of Bacardi, sit back and reread the article from American Public House Review about the Menger Bar in San Antonio, where a young Colonel Theodore Roosevelt began a ride that would take him from the top of San Juan Hill to the heights of political power. Bully!

 

 

Posted by: Chris Poh

 

 

 

 

Setting Sail With John McCain

We left Newport under threatening skies on a northerly heading up Narragansett Bay. Our charter on that  morning in May of 2000 was the restored 58 foot Elco motor-yacht Rum Runner. In the waters just beyond the Navy War College were anchored the Iowa and Forrestal. Our captain skillfully maneuvered our craft in between these two historic grey ladies of naval warfare. 

As I looked up at the flight deck I recalled scenes of the inferno that engulfed John McCain’s A-4 Skyhawk after a missile accidentally fired from another aircraft struck his plane’s fuel tanks, as he was awaiting clearance to take off for a bombing sortie over North Vietnam. 134 sailors and airmen lost their lives and hundreds more were injured as a result of the Forrestal disaster on July 29, 1967. This event as well as the five years of captivity in Hanoi did much to prepare Captain John McCain for his dedicated, resolute and occasionally brash career on the floor of the United States Senate. 

This past August I was again cruising the waters off Coddington Cove. It is no longer possible to gain easy access to this or any other military installation in the United states. The events of 9-11 have, for better or worse – literally and figuratively, limited our ability to freely navigate many channels. But our presidential candidates remind us often about the gravity of the situation, and the sacrifices that must be made in order to safeguard the republic. They and their operatives also remind us ad nauseam about those individual life experiences that make them capable and ready to serve as president.

As I review the resumes of our current candidates I am satisfied that both are competent enough to hold court in the Oval Office. Hell, anyone that is able to outlast their opponents in the grueling and unremiting primary process is probably able to give at least a fair accounting of presidential performance.

But then there is the matter of constitutional ascendance. On this front John McCain has so far proven the depth of his political savvy and expedience in his choice of Sarah Palin; but as a matter of providing for the responsible protection of this nation – one might question his powers of reasoning and good judgement. 

If these are truly the most grave and dangerous times since the Second World War, as both candidates would have us believe, they owe it to every American to make sure that their potential successors are well versed in international affairs and immediately qualified to take command of our armed forces. Furthermore, while we must value and respect every person’s relationship with the divine, those who profess that God might have a hand in directing our use of military force may not be suited for the position of commander in chief.

Those who died at Yorktown, Antietam, Meuse-Argonne, Guadalcanal, Normandy, Incheon, Khe Sanh, Basra and on the decks of the Forrestal perhaps deserve better!

Posted by: Chris Poh, Publisher

Six weeks of Pennsylvania and little achieved in the results

So here we are, the day after the Pennsylvania primary.  For the past six weeks, and even for weeks before that, we heard from the pundits that this was going to be crucial.  This primary was supposed to be as big and as decisive as Iowa’s or New Hampshire’s.  Well, I guess it was because it has, like those two, decided absolutely nothing.

We had six weeks of a campaign that ended up being waged in the gutters of the political world.  Once upon a time the Democrats argued about who will cover more Americans with their healthcare proposals, who has the best plan to end the war in Iraq, or who has the best ideas for stabilizing a teetering economy.  But the good folks of Pennsylvania were instead subjected to, boilermakers, bowling scores, and fantasy bullets.  Policy was replaced with nonsense, and all at the cost of millions.  Even the debate, an event that usually brings a pause to the silliness, was a disgrace.

And what is worse is that after weeks of hypocrisy and hyperbole, the results bring nearly nothing.  Both candidates did about what we would have expected six weeks ago.  Sure, Obama cut into Clinton’s lead, but everyone expected he would do that.  And perhaps he forced her into a tenuous financial situation moving forward, but does anyone really believe that will stop the Clintons?  She is still behind in delegates and popular vote and he still has not closed the deal.  But they have managed to damage each other quite a bit.  Congratulations Senators, millions spent in Pennsylvania and all you have achieved is a big “thank you” from John McCain.

The only good news is that it is finally behind us.  The next six weeks will feature the final ten contests.  Will they give us the closure we all desperately crave?  The chances are just as likely they will as they won’t.  As much as the cable media loves this stuff, it is driving the rest of us absolutely insane!

Posted by: David McBride, Marketing Director – American Public House Review

Published in: on April 23, 2008 at 8:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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One more example of the erosion of presidential politics

For years, we have expected presidential debates to be mostly serious affairs, so much so that many found them boring.  Two or more candidates would take to a stage and be questioned on policy issues by some network political wonk and many would tune out after only a few minutes.  Well after last nights democratic debate in Pennsylvania, those days can now be viewed as the good old’ days.

What we saw last night was nothing short of a seismic shift in the way network televised debates will be presented.  Instead of a 90 minute break from the normal nonsensical campaign bantering of surrogates and the infantile back-and-forth silliness we all have come to expect, we got more of just that sort of thing in this debate.  Thanks to Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, discussion of policy and real issues, like the economy, Iraq, healthcare and anything else that matters to people’s lives, took a back seat and were pushed aside.

The first question should have given us an insight into what was coming.  Charlie Gibson, with his glasses perched on his nose so as to appear like the candidates fourth grade history teacher, asked if they would put the other on the ticket as a running mate.  But he didn’t specify who the question was for, so as the two senators paused in an attempt to be polite to one another Gibson gave a snarky “Don’t all talk at once” type jibe.  Either Gibson choked on the very first question, or he was hoping this would happen so he could put them both down right off the bat.  It was ridiculously awkward moment, but as the next 50 minutes would reveal, it was just the type of table setter he was looking for.

The first six questions, encompassing nearly the entire first half of the debate, was completely devoid of policy issues or anything else one would expect to find in a debate.  Instead we got regurgitated “gotchas” that have all been discussed and answered over and over for weeks.

There was an obvious plan to what ABC wanted out of this debate.  They were going to corner Obama and watch as Clinton slapped away, like an episode of Jerry Springer.  For example, the moderators used a taped question from a Pennsylvanian about Obama and his lack of a flag lapel pin, as if that were of any consequence to why I can’t afford to fuel my car.  Of course no one bothered to point out that Hillary Clinton was also not wearing a pin, because that just wouldn’t have fit the script.  It was painfully pointless and depressingly hard to watch.

But it will be up to bloggers and newspapers to point this out.  The television media will never criticize one of their own as soon they will also be called on to perform such a task.  Will this new “reality television” style of political debates be what the future holds?  Let’s all hope not.

Published in: Uncategorized on April 17, 2008 at 2:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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