This weekend I got back from the Republican Leadership Conference 2014 in New Orleans. It was a treat to get to meet the State Trooper Motormen who escorted us during the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America during our Louisiana phase — they were providing security at the RLC event. I had a blast meeting the Patriarch of the Robertson Clan, Phil Robertson, and we had a nice chat before and after his speech –truly an American family.
At the RLC I spoke at a morning brunch event addressing the topic of minority conservative policy inclusiveness. Along with me was Louisiana State Senator Elbert Guillory.
Overall, the RLC was a great event, my first time attending, and the folks down there in Nawlins’ do a first-class job.
However, the highlight of my time at the RLC 2014 was the Friday evening Louisiana College Republicans (CRs) Searsucker Soiree. These young people are not just the future of the GOP (Growth, Opportunity, Promise). They are the now. They are led by a dynamic State Chairman in a young lady named Melanie Benit, and besides the awesome jazz band, they garnered Herman Cain as a guest speaker.
There was so much going on this week, so are my concise assessments.
VA Secretary Eric Shinseki had to resign as we have come to realize that there has been complete loss of trust, confidence, and credibility for the former Army Chief of Staff. When the bureaucrats have no respect and lie, purposefully, to the leader there is a deep problem.As well, when the leader is overly trusting and does not pursue the ground truth there is an even greater problem. It has been some 6 years and the conditions for our Veterans have worsened. Yes, there is culpability with our Congress, especially when Senator Harry Reid refuses to take up a three-page bill that would allow firing of senior VA bureaucrats. At a time when the Obama administration has not held cabinet members accountable, Shinseki’s timing could not have been any worse — but this hardly means the issue is rectified.
Along with that resignation came that of White House mouthpiece, Jay Carney. It was blatantly apparent that Carney was struggling and was losing control at the daily briefings. There are two hypotheses to present. Either Carney had tired of trying to lie and spin for the administration — and Obama. Or the administration and Obama realized that he was no longer effective in lying. Regardless, perhaps Carney will be able to bypass rehab because it truly looked as though he was heading to a breakdown — reflective in his inability to hold his head up and look people in the eye.Speaking of holding ones head up, I still do not know how to describe the incessant and incoherent rambling of President Obama’s West Point commencement address — touted as his definitive foreign policy speech. I am less clear as to what an Obama doctrine means. Certainly no one believes that retreat in Iraq defines victory — unless you are al-Qaid and Iran. Clearly Obama is delusional to believe that he has advanced any type of diplomatic success in Ukraine. Matter of fact, residents of Crimea — recently annexed by Vladimir Putin — did not even participate in the Ukrainian elections. Yep, that is how I define success — for Putin — not Obama.
Red lines and rhetoric does not convince enemies, nor provide confidence in friends. And for Obama to state that if the US does not lead, no one else will? There is always someone else looking to be the global hegemony, whether economically or militarily — the question is whether or not a declining hegemony gets to select its successor? Foreign policy is not about trite, simplistic, overused metaphors about hammers and nails — it requires detailed thought and inspiration — both missing, sadly for the West Point graduates, our future American leaders.
Saturday we learned that Army SGT Bowe Bergdahl was released by the Taliban. But as we reported here, there are many questions surrounding his voluntary disappearance, not capture. We’re glad he will be home to his family in Idaho, but the questions must be answered. Especially since we know that five Afghan Taliban will be released in a deal brokered from Qatar, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. Something is amiss here because Islamic terrorists don’t detain American troops, they execute them — in the most barbaric manner. My own battalion was part of a search for two sister artillery battalion Soldiers, captured, at a checkpoint — they were stripped naked and shot in the back of the head. Bergdahl will come home, but the long-term ramifications are yet to be known.
And if we traded five Taliban for Bergdahl, why have the Mexicans not released Marine SGT Andrew Tahmooressi? After all, the Obama administration set free some 36,000 criminal illegal immigrants — and the Mexicans are supposed to be our friends. So, be happy for SGT Bergdahl, albeit his abandoning his assigned duty post. But be even more vigilant for SGT Tahmooressi — who we found out this week is being beaten — by our friends to whom we are providing financial aid.
In closing, there were two very significant emotion events in our family this week. Our oldest daughter Aubrey, who finished her junior year of college, took the MCAT (Medical Comprehension Aptitude Test) on Saturday. Her heart’s desire is to be a pediatric doctor working with premature babies. And the other occurrence in our family this week which brings both tears of joy and sadness was the graduation of our Chinese exchange student, Wangying Lin, from high school. Lin has been with us for two years and last summer Aubrey and Austen traveled to China and spent six weeks in her home country.
I have to tell this story. Lin will be attending Indiana University in Bloomington next fall — how did that happen? Well, Lin, consulting with her mom back in China, wanted Lin to attend better colleges than Angela and I did. They knew that Angela and I had received degrees from Kansas State University (Angela BS and PhD and myself an MA) and that K-State is in the Big 12. Lin and her mom thought that was an academic ranking so they wanted Lin to attend better — and that was a Big 10 school. Of course, I had to explain that these were sports conferences, not academic rankings, but she is off to be a Hoosier. We will miss Lin and we pray that attending a Christian school and church with us will have made a difference in her life.