Barack in Limbo

As he stands on the sidelines, seemingly oblivious to what’s going on in the world, President-elect Barack Obama opts out of the game by proclaiming that there’s only one president at a time.

That’s another way of saying, “Let George do it,” when the Middle East erupts in violence, the economy continues to slump, and the governor of his state defies demands that he step down.

His almost nonchalant approach to the turmoil around him has thus far protected him from adverse reactions from his real base — the media — but that immunity from harsh criticism has not extended to his political base, the far left. They are after him hammer and tongs.

Barack Obama will not become president until January 20, but the far left of his party is already blaming him for all sorts of alleged omissions. He seems to have violated the liberal’s major shibboleth, “No enemies to the left.” He’s suddenly acquired a whole slew of them.

He may have chosen a few bomb throwers to serve in his Cabinet or the White House, but that hasn’t satisfied the more dainty of the lefties who are appalled at his selection of Pastor Rick Warren, who committed the unpardonable sin of not only opposing gay marriage, but actually promoted Proposition 8, which banned the aberration in California.

Up on Capitol Hill the Democrats are out of sorts because he failed to act more quickly on his planned stimulus package, and Barney Frank — an openly homosexual Democrat from Massachusetts — is enraged over the choice of Rick Warren.

They simply don’t buy his only-one-president-at-a-time alibi. They want him to start acting presidential now, and all he’s been doing in Hawaii is physical exercise (when he’s not showing off his pecs to the gaga media).

The left is also unhappy with the economic team he’s assembled — a group of moderates who embrace traditional approaches to economic policies rather than the openly socialistic nostrums the Marxist wing of his party cherishes.

His problem with Congress lies in the fact that Congress never accepts responsibility for anything. They shift whatever blame there is in any situation downtown to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., but wallow in the glory of anything that goes right.

The boys and girls on Capitol Hill were more responsible for the current economic mess that any other entity, but they shift the blame to the Bush administration, which had in fact tried to forestall the crisis and was blocked from acting by such top Democrats as Barney Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd, who were drinking heavily at the money fountains of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac.

The fact that they haven’t done anything worthwhile is all Obama’s fault, and starting on January 20 they’ll blame him for anything that goes wrong. His honeymoon will more quickly resemble a marriage on the brink of divorce rather than a joyous romp at Niagara Falls.

All this, sadly, is simply a sign of the decline now evident in Washington with the utter absence of backbone and leadership.

The taste of Barack Obama’s triumphant victory could well turn out to be ashes in his mouth rather than that of honey. He has climbed the hill to the top and found it covered with thorns and thistles and poison ivy, instead of the roses he expected.

Shortly after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, Sen. Barry Goldwater dropped by the White House to see his friend and former Senate colleague President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

When Barry asked him how he was, JFK looked at him, threw up his arms and said “What a lousy fouled up job this has turned out to be.”

Welcome to the White House, President Obama. Enjoy your stay. Have a great New Year. You are in our prayers.

And Happy New Year to one and all.

©2008 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or Web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc., Cari Dawson Bartley. E-mail Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561.

Hissy Fits from the Left, Grumbling From the Right

Listening to some of those on the left you’d think that Barack Obama had suddenly announced he had changed parties and enrolled as a pro-life Republican, while over on the right some malcontents worry that he has abandoned genuine Christianity and become a member of a heretical sect.

All of this hubbub just because he invited Pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his coming inauguration ceremonies.

That’s right. Rick Warren, pastor of a mega-church, author of an inspirational best seller, “The Purpose Driven Life,” that many testify helped renew their Christian faith, a man who unapologetically defends the root tenets of that faith, has thus become a target of the so-called gay community who prefer clerics who blithely ignore Biblical teachings.

According to its press materials, Dr. Warren’s Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. averages “22,000 weekly attendees, a 120-acre campus, and has more than 300 community ministries to groups such as prisoners, CEOs, addicts, single parents, and those with HIV/AIDS. He also leads the Purpose Driven Network of churches, a global coalition of congregations in 162 countries.” Time magazine named Warren one of “15 World Leaders Who Mattered Most in 2004,” and in 2005 one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.”

Despite all that, he’s still a scoundrel, according to such groups as the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, who now demand that President-elect Obama withdraw his invitation to the Rev. Warren and find someone more suitable — presumably meaning gay friendly — to pray over his installation as president of the United States.

Why is he a scoundrel? How did he offend them? By supporting California’s successful Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage, and by saying such things as, “I’m opposed to the re-definition of a 5,000 year definition of marriage. I’m opposed to a having brother and sister be together and call that a marriage. I’m opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage. I’m opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that a marriage.”

To them, having such beliefs disqualifies him from taking part in Obama’s inaugural ceremony despite the fact that Obama himself expressed the same beliefs at the presidential candidate forum at his Saddleback Church during the campaign, saying “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian — for me as a Christian — it is also a sacred union.”

In view of his views on the subject as shown above, and the demands of the gay community regarding Rick Warren, should not Barack Obama also be disqualified from appearing at his own inauguration?

On the right, some of my fellow conservatives are aghast over the thought that pro-abortion Barack Obama, who at best they abhor anyway, would slap them in the face by asking Warren to do the honors at his inauguration, and that — Heaven forbid — Warren would accept the invitation, thus in their view somehow putting his stamp of approval on baby-killing.

In a statement, Operation Rescue — a militantly pro-life but usually sensible organization — charged that Warren had attempted “to excuse his act of support for Mr. Obama, an ardent supporter of abortion, by saying, ‘The Bible admonishes us to pray for our leaders,’ which of course it does.”

For Operation Rescue that doesn’t cut it. Taking part in Obama’s moment of glory is somehow “tantamount to placing his stamp of approval on Obama and his policies that stand in direct opposition to Biblical truths.”

They quote Holy Scripture (Ephesians 5:11) as admonishing that as Christians we should have “nothing to do with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.”

In other words, by praying at the inauguration, the mere act of praying for the new president amounts to backhanded support of abortion because Obama is pro-abortion.

President Eisenhower had a term for that kind of reasoning. He called it “rot-gut thinking.”

I expect to see rot-gut thinking from the gays, but not when it comes from conservatives as well.

God bless Rick Warren and God help his critics, left and right.

Merry Christmas.

Smart Strategy is No Accident

In addition to seeing Mike Huckabee suddenly surge in the polls, the nation is also witnessing some of the smartest campaign strategies any candidate has displayed in a long time. The former Arkansas governor has shown he can play the game with the best of them, and better than most.

Let’s start with the Huckabee Christmas commercial, obviously aimed at evangelical Christians who constitute more than 40 percent of Iowa voters. Huckabee not only preached a sermon to that choir of Iowa voters, he spoke in front of what appeared to be a cross that appeared prominently in the background above his shoulder.

It’s important to keep in mind that this TV ad did not occur in isolation — it was an obvious response to Mitt Romney’s brilliant speech on his faith given the week before — a speech that won almost-universal praise. If the Rev. Mike Huckabee wanted to be seen as the Christian candidate, it required a response.

That’s what the latest Huckabee Iowa TV ad was — a 28-second answer to Romney’s speech. That ad, one of the most brilliantly conceived and executed commercials ever seen, attracted worldwide attention. And no matter how many denials he and his supporters offer, that was a cross in the background and it was no accident it was highly visible. Remember that nothing happens by accident in politics. When it comes to such campaign gimmicks as TV commercials, everything is planned, down to the last detail.

That is not in the background because it is a bookcase — it was there because part of it forms a cross, plain and simple — the rest of the bookcase simply fades from view. And you have only 28 seconds to discern the fact that the cross that looms so prominently is merely part of a larger object.

It was a subliminal message, just as it was a subtle way of telling voters, “I’m the Christian, Romney is the Mormon.”

While it may have been part of a bookcase shelf or, as some say, a window, it was there because Huckabee and his advisors wanted it there to remind voters in Iowa that the candidate is a real Christian candidate running for the Republican nomination — one who is not afraid to display his Christianity boldly in this secular age which scoffs at all religious beliefs.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Ed Rollins, his top campaign advisor, planned that ad. Ed Rollins is a political genius when it comes to those kinds of issues and he proved that when he worked so effectively to put my father in the White House.

Mike Huckabee won’t admit it, but that ad was carefully crafted, it was effective, and it was his answer to Mitt Romney’s speech,

It’s interesting to note how those in mainstream media, who have so much trouble dealing with the birth of Christ, went absolutely bonkers over someone saying that he is a Christian, that what we are celebrating on December 25 is the birth of Jesus Christ, and daring to wish his fellow Americans “Merry Christmas” instead of some innocuous muttering such as “happy holidays.”

In his ad, Huckabee was also challenging the media by rubbing his faith in their faces.

Huckabee did in 28 seconds what it took Mitt Romney much longer. That’s political genius at work.

©2007 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley email Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561.

If I Were President

Who needs gigantic bailouts when there are far less costly and more effective ways to deal with the economic crisis, such as those I’d use if I were president of the United States.

To begin with I’d give the economy a powerful shot in the arm by eliminating a lot of federal taxes that are hobbling economic growth.

There is a better way to boost our economy than the socialistic programs now being both used and considered. It’s called free enterprise, and it works by loosening the death grip now strangling America’s small business community, which provides the majority of jobs in this country.

I’d start by reinstating the tax deductibility of the interest rates we now pay banks on vacation or second homes, cars, motor homes, RVs, boats and yachts.

Instead of following the lead of the Governor of New York by putting a luxury tax on these items — thereby killing the free market — I’d revive the market, and those houses in foreclosure and owned by banks would find eager buyers seeking to invest in real estate.

If buyers knew they could write off the interest that they would be paying a bank on the loan, you wouldn’t need a government bailout, because the people with money to invest — not government — would be the ones who would bail out the economy.

Giving them a tax break for getting involved in the economy by investing in income-producing real estate is the sensible way of bailing out the marketplace.

What are we thinking when we plan to give General Motors a bailout with money we don’t have? Why should we need to borrow from our grandchildren and great-grandchildren and their offspring?

Instead, why not allow us to deduct the interest on a second home we might buy? Do the same with boats, with RVs, with second homes, with automobiles.

We’d undo much of the damage the downturn in the economy has done to our retirement accounts, causing most of us to lose at least 25 to 30 percent or our retirement savings.

Moreover if we also cut taxes on capital gains to zero and slash corporate taxation by half, the economy would grow and the nation’s economic engine would be restarted and roar into life, and it would all happen with raising one cent of taxes.

We’d do it all without socialism and without bailouts.

Think about it. Giving the automakers huge barrels of money doesn’t do a single thing about motivating people to buy cars, and if people don’t have an incentive to buy cars most won’t, and you’re right back where you started, only a lot poorer.

People need an incentive to buy a car. What’s the incentive? If, however, you give them a tax break as a reward for buying a car they have an incentive.

With the economic downturn, the boat business is in the tank. Nobody is buying boats, yet the Governor of New York wants to kill the boat business by adding a five percent luxury tax to the cost of buying a boat? Why not just order boat sellers to go out of business and be done with it?

Years ago a tax on yachts was imposed and the results on the economy were staggering. I was in the business of selling boats at the time, and the taxes simply killed the business in the United States.

The tax did boost the economy, except it wasn’t the U.S. economy. People kept buying boats, but not here. They bought them in Venezuela and Mexico and a host of other foreign countries, had them registered in those countries, and then had somebody take them to the United States.

Why? To avoid the taxes.

Make the interest buyers pay on cars, boats, motor homes, second homes and investment real estate deductible, and you won’ t need bailouts. The American people will do the job themselves.

Primary Nonsense

Primary season, which appears to have begun about a week after the 2004 presidential elections, is getting sillier with each passing day. This is thanks to the media, which not only feast on the season’s daily menu, but attempt to predigest it for the American people.

As fuzzy as the process of the selection of the two party’s presidential nominees appears to be, the media’s goal is as clear as day: to make it fuzzier and to influence the outcomes.

They do it by attaching great importance to a host of factors that are really meaningless, not the least of which is citing national polls to indicate the front-runners, while carefully ignoring those factors which will decide the outcome.

They know that national polls are worthless indicators of which candidates are probable winners, but that doesn’t stop them from proclaiming that the alleged winners in those polls are the front-runners in the race for their party’s nomination.

Given that false assumption, Rudy Giuliani emerges as the front-runner for the GOP nomination. Primaries, however, are not decided by national polls, they are decided by the voters in the primary states. Giuliani may be the front-runner in national polls, but he’s barely in the race in such states as Iowa and New Hampshire – the earliest contests where victory goes a long way in indicating which candidates are the likely nominees when the dust clears. And Giuliani himself admits it, pinning his hopes on the states whose primaries come much later and he is popular.

When Rudy Giuliani loses in Iowa and when Rudy Giuliani loses in New Hampshire and South Carolina, his standing in the national polls will also plunge.

What is now going on is what’s been going on for decades in presidential primaries – you have all of these leakers leaking information, such as the Drudge Report’s contention that the Democrats want Mike Huckabee to win the GOP nomination because they believe he’d be the easiest Republican to beat in the general election.

Translated, that means that Huckabee really scares the pants off the Democrats, who hope they can prevent him from being the GOP nominee by persuading Republican voters from voting for someone else because Huckabee is a sure loser.

The reality here is that Americans have been electing governors to the presidency for a long time – such men as Roosevelt, Carter, Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush; and guess what, there are only two former governors running in the GOP primaries, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee.

Based on the record, that fact alone makes either one a probable winner next November. And it’s why the Democrats and their media allies want neither man to win the GOP nomination.

Their front-runners, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, are not governors, they are United States senators, and in modern times the American people simply do not elect senators to the presidency.

Match either one against either Romney or Huckabee, and history teaches us that it’s most probable that the next occupant of the Executive Mansion in Washington will be a former occupant of a governor’s mansion in Arkansas or Massachusetts, and not a United States senator.

Given that fact, doesn’t it defy reason for the Democrats to want to run against Mike Huckabee? Today’s Democrats may be corrupt, not just a little bit slimy. And they are inherently Marxist, but they not stupid, even though Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid make them look that way.

The American people need to be informed about these simple facts, but the media are doing their best to keep the truth from them and manipulate them, especially by attaching great importance to the meaningless national polls.

©2007 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley email Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561.

The Daley Machine Goes National

At the moment it seems clear that Barack Obama has had no direct involvement in the growing scandal involving Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but nothing can remove the stench of Chicago politics that engulfs Obama thanks to his appointments of the Chicago Three.

Let it be said at the outset — the only way Barack Obama can separate himself from any hint of the sordid corruption that is the earmark of Chicago’s Daley machine is to send the Chicago Three back to the political sewer from which they have emerged.

Obama has chosen three long-time associates, David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett, to fill key posts in his administration. All are products of the scandal-ridden Richard Daley machine that dominates the city’s politics, and by virtue of that fact alone they are unfit to serve in top White House posts.

This is not a matter of guilt by association. If you’re a member of an organized crime family — even if you’ve never killed anybody — you’re still part of an organization that routinely commits murder and you share in the guilt.

The same thing is true if you’re closely associated with a notoriously corrupt political machine such as Chicago’s Daley machine — you are more than merely tainted by the corruption, you share in it.

Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s choice to be White House chief of staff, signed on with Mayor Daley as long ago as 1987, when Daley was running for mayor.

According to news accounts, Emanuel served as a fundraiser for Daley, aggressively convincing donors to give money to Daley’s campaign. After Emanuel served in the Clinton White House, Daley welcomed him back to Chicago with open arms, endorsing him in 2002 to fill the congressional seat left vacant when Rod Blagojevich ran for governor.

Daley pulled out all stops to help Emanuel win. And he wound up in the U.S. Congress thanks to the mayor.

He is a product of the corrupt Daley regime and as such is clearly unfit to be White House chief of staff.

Before he went to work for Obama, David Axelrod spent years working for the Daley Machine.

In 2005, he proved his loyalty to the machine when U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was investigating corruption in Illinois. Axelrod attacked him for daring to criminalize the sleazy style of politics in Chicago,

In an op-ed piece Axelrod insisted that trading political favors — including jobs, known as “pay for play” these days — is an essential part of the process that makes government work.

Axelrod has been the liaison between the Daley Machine and Barack Obama. Giving him a key White House post cannot cleanse him of his association with the endemic corruption of the Daley Machine, which he has long and faithfully served. Send him back to their welcoming arms.

There is no question of Valerie Jarrett’s association with the Daley Machine. She once served as Richard Daley’s chief of staff and has been described as a key cog in the Daley Machine. That fact alone disqualifies her from serving in the post of advisor to the president of the United States. Moreover, she has been under a cloud of suspicion for her roles in a couple of sordid scandals involving public housing in Chicago.

Said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton: “Like Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett is a product of the corrupt Chicago political machine. And it is no stretch to say that she was a slumlord.

“We have real concerns about Jarrett’s ethics. Washington already has plenty of corruption. We don’t need to import more of it from Chicago,” Fitton added.

According to Robert Grant, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Chicago office: “If it [Illinois] isn’t the most corrupt state in the United States, it’s certainly one hell of a competitor.”

America can do without any hint of the Illinois corruption the Chicago Three represent.

Where’s The Shining City?

Republicans keep longing for a reincarnation of Ronald Reagan to pop up and win the GOP presidential nomination, but thus far not one of the current candidates has shown that he has the vaguest notion of what made my father the great president he was — his vision of the America it is capable of becoming based on his unbounded optimism and faith in the ability of fellow Americans to do the right thing when told the truth.

They keep going off on tangents, arguing about the religious faith of one of their number, or about the legality of using lawn service companies that hire illegal aliens, or how much a former mayor spent on security for himself and his mistress, but not a single word about what matters most – a vision of what kind of America will result if they win the presidency.

The American people crave to see the vision of the shining city on the hill my Dad promised and went a long way towards creating, yet not a single one of the GOP candidates has said a word about how they plan to get us there, or even mentioned it’s where they want to take us, or what it would be like once we got there.

The voters are being left with a slate of candidates whose vision of the kind of nation they imagine remains a mystery. Instead they concentrate on attacking one another, thus violating my Dad’s 11th commandment that Republicans must refrain from going after their party rivals.

This is a serious defect. If the men who seek the opportunity to win the presidency either have no idea of what kind of America they want to help create as president, or worse, are afraid to explain their vision to the electorate, the Republican party will deserve to go down in defeat next year. A party that has no promises for a bright and attainable future is a party that has no promise.

Unless I am very much mistaken, the people are fed up with candidates’ grandiose schemes to make Washington more efficient, the economy stronger, our foreign policy more effective or how they would handle illegal immigration matters. They have been hearing those un-kept promises for years.

What they haven’t been hearing from the people who want their votes is the promise of a future where America reaches the full potential the founding fathers envisioned over 230 years ago – a nation where equal opportunity is available for all, where government is once again the servant of the people and not their master, where truth is more important than political correctness, where their hard-earned wages are not squandered on wasteful and foolish government programs, and where elected legislators and not unelected judges enact the laws.

This is an America where principles, not programs, govern our lives and political activities. This is a shining city on the hill.

The Republican candidates, for reasons I can’t fathom, cannot see that shining city, or if they can, are unable to explain what it would be like under their administration.

On the Democratic side, there is no problem envisioning a future under their authority. Instead of envisioning a shining city on a hill, they see a Marxist municipality which on close inspection turns out to be just another one of those socialist slums which litter the garbage bin of history.

If Republicans refuse to take the blinders off their eyes and look to a future in the shining city, they will lose the election next year, and the nation will begin its dreary trek to the socialist slums where everybody will have an equal opportunity to be miserable.

©2007 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley email Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561.

Christmas is Not a Holiday – It’s a Birthday

Christmas is once again upon us, and we can expect to witness countless new displays of the rampant secularization of what is meant to be a joyous celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Frankly I’m fed up with seeing federal, state and local governments, local and nationwide chain stores, and even the White House — which last year couldn’t call their Christmas Party a Christmas party — all of them giving in to the intimidation of a handful of secular progressives who loathe Christianity and any celebration associated with it.

Despite the fact that close to 90 percent of all Americans are Christians — and that along with Easter, Christmas is one of the two most sacred days in the Christian calendar — we have allowed a tiny minority among us to turn Christ’s birthday celebration into a secular holiday devoid of any religious significance whatsoever.

Merely to greet another by saying “Merry Christmas” is now deemed politically incorrect and potentially offensive to non-Christians, and is thus taboo. Pity the poor store employee who dares to greet customers with this traditional salutation instead of uttering the meaningless “Happy Holiday.”

Municipalities large and small tremble in fear of being charged with violating the hallowed creed of separation of church and state if they allow the erection of a crèche or Christmas tree on city property, or dare to call the tree anything other than a “holiday” tree. Obviously, any mention of the holiday’s correct title — Christmas — is absolutely verboten.

It has long been clear that the sole official purpose of the so-called holiday season is to boost the economy with an orgy of buying Christmas presents from establishments which insult us by strenuously avoiding calling them Christmas gifts.

Last year, after decades of meekly accepting these demonstrations of the nation’s increasingly enforced paganism, many Americans began to shout “enough,” and won some significant victories in the fight to put Christ back into Christmas.

The secular progressives who shrivel at the sound of a “Merry Christmas” greeting have long succeeded in intimidating the world of commerce and government. It’s about time for the 90 percent of Americans who call themselves Christians to do a little intimidation of their own.

My fellow Christians should join me in pledging never again to shop in any commercial establishment where the clerks greet us with that “Happy Holiday” greeting as an insult to our religious beliefs, just as we must defend the exhibition of the menorah or other Jewish symbols at Hanukkah.

We should never again vote for a candidate who does not recognize the right of Christians to have their sacred religious observances recognized by all levels of government, and who will not vigorously oppose all attempts to take Christ out of Christmas and Christmas out of the calendar.

We should not buy a single product manufactured or sold by a commercial enterprise that bows to the intimidation of those who hate our faith and seek to deny it any recognition, official or otherwise.

On the positive side, we should applaud all those commercial entities that joyfully and unambiguously recognize and celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ, and stand side-by-side with our Jewish brothers and sisters as they fight to have their religious observances celebrated without restriction.

Have a Merry Christmas. And don’t be afraid to say that loud and clear to everyone.

Child Abuse Worsens as Families Change

Child abuse is growing out of control here in America, and there’s a good reason why: the traditional family is coming apart at the seams.

According to reports made to state agencies, there were 900,000 incidents of child abuse in 2005 alone. These raw numbers give no clue just how much child abuse correlates with parents’ marital status or the make-up of the victim’s household, although these are vitally important factors in child abuse cases. The proof is in the news far too often.

Nothing is more important to child welfare than living within the bosom of a stable family, and nothing is more destructive to their well-being than being forced to live in a fatherless household where dad is replaced by the live-in boyfriend, or as is often the case, by a series of live-in boyfriends.

In almost all cases of horrific child abuse that is exactly the situation of the victim. Nobody is more at risk today than children living in fatherless homes where the mother’s boyfriend is sharing her bed while avoiding the commitment of marriage, or a new husband views her children as unwanted consequences of the new marriage.

You have young women who for one reason or another have not gotten the love of their child’s father, their former husband, who confuse sex with love, and give no thought to the consequences of bringing a man who has no emotional ties with their children into their homes and expect them to act as substitute dads.

In pursuit of maintaining their so-called relationship, many allow these men to beat their children, often as punishment for having disturbed the boyfriend in some way, such as crying or soiling their diapers.

It never occurs to them that in most cases the boyfriend views their child as an inconvenience to be put up with as a price for getting sex without commitment. Yet they do not hesitate to put their child in his care, especially if she is the breadwinner in the household while the often-jobless boyfriend stays home with their son or daughter and lives on her income.

We read about the deadly consequences children pay for being forced to live in these circumstances where they find themselves in a home where their real father is no longer present and a stranger is taking his place.

A tragic case in point involved two-year-old Riley Ann Sawyers whose body was found in Galveston Bay, in a plastic box, on Oct. 29. Riley’s mom and real dad were not married and had split up and gone their separate ways.

Her mother, 19-year-old Kimberly Dawn Trenor met Royce Clyde Zeigler II a couple of years ago while playing an online game, World of Warcraft, according to the Associated Press, which reports that she moved with her daughter from Ohio to Spring Texas and married Zeigler.

In a statement to police, first reported by Houston television station KTRK, Trenor said that she and Zeigler, 24, killed her daughter last July 24.

She said that the little girl was beaten with leather belts, had her head held underwater in a bathtub and then was thrown across a room, her head slamming into a tile floor, and added that they kept the body in a storage shed for one to two months before they put it in a plastic bin and dumped it into Galveston Bay.

Sadly, we read about this kind of outrage all the time. We are appalled that it happens but we are unwilling to look at the causes. Americans have said that they are willing to accept all these distortions of family life and they do not dare to define marriage as a lasting arrangement between a man and a woman. Nowadays, marriage is whatever aberration we say it is.

We don’t want to offend anybody, and while we are avoiding offending single mothers living with their current boyfriends, or men and women who treat their marriage vows as temporary arrangements without regard to the damaging effect divorce has on the kids, children are being beaten and children are dying.

And in the face of all of this, Massachusetts is worried about spanking.

©2007 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley email Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561.

Change is Changing

A funny thing happened on his way to the White House: that old, left-wing community organizer Barack Obama has suddenly veered toward the center, and his incoming administration is looking more and more like the Daley Machine in Chicago than Hugo Chavez’s administration down in Venezuela.

It seems that reality has set in, instructing the soon-to-be president-elect (he won’t be that until the presidential electors gather and vote for him next month) that it’s easier to promise change then it is to change the way things are traditionally done in a democracy.

Watching him announce key appointments to cabinet and sub-cabinet posts makes one think that this is Bill Clinton redux. Mr. Obama has dug deep into the 1990s and resurrected much of the Clinton cast of characters, even to naming Hillary Clinton to be secretary of state.

That appointment, some have suggested, is Obama’s way of emulating Lyndon Johnson. When LBJ named an old foe to a post in his administration, he explained that it was better to have the camel inside the tent urinating out, than outside the tent urinating in.

None of this satisfies the radical left that went bonkers trying to elect the man they thought would turn the White House into a new Kremlin and name all of them commissars of the new Socialist Republic of America.

Barack Obama, ardent disciple of the late Saul Alinsky, seems to have forgotten the iron-clad left-wing dictate — “no enemies to the left.” With every Clintonite or Wall Streeter appointment he makes a new enemy on the left.

What the Alinsky/Ayers crowd doesn’t seem to understand is that Barack Obama’s only acquaintanceship with government in action was his close relationship with Chicago’s Daley machine, where its hallmark — aside from its rampant corruption — was devotion to pragmatism. If it works, do it; if it doesn’t, don’t.

Everything Mr. Obama has done in recent weeks since winning the election has been an exercise in pragmatism — gone is all the heated rhetoric about change and reform. Everything is now measured by only one standard — it must above all be practical.

What his disappointed leftist allies don’t grasp is that many of those who voted for him thought he had a conservative message for them. Now with his appointments such as keeping Robert Gates at the Defense Department and naming Paul Volcker as a top economic advisor, he’s delivering on what the voters saw as his conservative promises.

Unlike Bill Clinton, he’s moving to the center before he takes office, and not two years afterwards as Clinton did. During the campaign I prayed he was lying when he unveiled his platform and promises of what he’d do as president.

I was hoping he lied about taxes. I was hoping he lied about ending the war in Iraq in 16 months. I was hoping he lied about all of those nutty left-wing programs he was promising.

It looks as if my prayers were answered.

I expect that he’ll try to mollify his now-dejected left-wing supporters by tossing them a few bones. He’ll push for the horrendous “Freedom of Choice” bill that would enshrine abortion as the supreme law of the land, overturning all restrictions on the grisly procedure previously enacted by the states; and trying to gag conservative talk radio hosts, for example.

I’m sure he knows that those attempts might be empty gestures if his party falls short of the 60 votes in the Senate they need to shut off debate on such measures, thereby allowing the Republican minority to use the filibusters to kill such measures so dear to the hearts of the so-called progressives.

What’s happening is Obama’s discovery that there is a big difference between running for president and being president. He is now up to date, up to speed, and getting all the information George Bush is getting — and he having to make decisions based on that information.

As a result he and George Bush are now on the same wavelength. It’s amazing what a little dose of reality will do to a man who dreamt dreams before he encountered the inescapable facts of life.

Welcome to Washington, Barack Obama.