America’s Bad King

By Joe Budzinski

[The great honor of occasionally posting here at TC has been extended to me by the proprietors. I am grateful, and look forward to the vigorous dialogue, as always.]


He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants … And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the Lord will not answer you in that day. (1 Samuel 8:14, 18)

The people demanded a king. The Lord answered: Be careful what you wish for.

They sought a monarch to raise their status among the nations, but already at the tail end of the Bronze Age kingship meant heavy taxation and profligate leaders. For Israel, the monarchy also would bring a divided nation and centuries of palace-led civic backsliding on their covenant with God. It all ended badly.

Though we in the US have neither a formal crown nor state religion, that 11th century BCE national decision point serves as a teachable moment. We have allowed the office of our president to evolve into something akin to royalty, not only through increased executive branch powers but also in the abounding perks and grandeur we have bestowed on it in recent decades.

In doing so we broke key tenets of our civil religion, fostering the cardinal sins of hypocrisy and triumphalism, and allowing a president to interpret his mandate for leadership as a license for elitism: rules for thee but not for me.

Two recent books argue the US presidency is a public office gone awry, and that a scandal growing slowly in the shadows came into full bloom under President Barack Obama: With Obama, an institution ripe for abuse was met by a president willing to push its boundaries.

But whoever wins tomorrow’s election, it is time for a severe public reappraisal of presidential privileges and costs going forward.


Although Barack Obama campaigned in 2008 as a friend of the middle class and said “I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street,” the dirty little secret of the Obama era is that while the US poverty rate has soared, large corporations and the wealthiest Americans have prospered the most. Obama himself, when his income and untaxed personal benefits are calculated, is in the top 1% of the “1%,” thanks solely to the largesse of US taxpayers.

For example, Americans have spent about $20 million per year funding the Obama family’s vacations. Chief among these is their annual trip to Hawaii, which costs us $9 million. The first couple’s “date night” to New York City for dinner and a show had a public tab of over $1 million. As of February 2012, in their first three years in office, the presidential family had tallied 16 separate vacations during one of the worst prolonged economic downturns in US history.

Several weeks after a February 2011 speech noting that normal Americans “might put off a vacation” during hard economic times, President Obama took the first family and other family members on a trip to Latin America. Later that year, despite the president’s recent executive order limiting government workers’ travel expenses, the First Lady and other family members left a few days early for their luxury vacation in Hawaii, requiring additional planes and staff and incurring hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer-funded expenses.

As author John F. Groom (whitehouseexpenses.com) observes in The 1.4 Billion Dollar Man: Costs of the Obama White House, Mrs. Obama’s “absolute contempt for taxpayers sometimes takes the form of figuratively flipping the bird at them; for example her two daughters, aged 13 and 10, are listed as ‘Senior Staff’ on the passenger manifest for their trip to South Africa and Botswana.”

The US president’s actual annual personal expenses are hidden within numerous federal budgets, particularly under the Department of Defense, and primarily for transportation. Over 1,000 military personnel are devoted simply to moving the president and his family around, often for vacations, public relations opportunities, and the many campaign and fundraising trips. The presidential helicopter fleet is a particularly galling example which “takes waste and fraud to a new level.” The current fleet has 31 helicopters, which cost $500 million each, and are used almost exclusively to ferry the president and first family from the White House to Andrews Air Force Base. By way of comparison, identical-sized craft used to take US service members into battle zones, hardened against enemy fire, cost $90 million each.

In total, Groom compiles $1.4 billion in annual costs for the first family in 15 main expense categories. His calculations do not include costs required for the president to do his job; for example, Groom only includes one-eighth of the Office of Administration budget.

Beyond taking discretionary spending to new heights, Obama has, in Groom’s view, achieved a new zenith in transforming his role from commander-in-chief to celebrity-in-chief, “entitled to the most extravagant conceivable lifestyle, with cost no object, regardless of whether the citizens—or rather, his subjects—are prospering.”

To put the Obamas’ lifestyle in perspective: One of the last official royal families on earth, the British monarchy, received less than $50 million in taxpayer funds in 2011. This amount would keep the Obama White House running for about nine days.

For preaching restraint in the private and public sectors while enjoying a lifestyle of unrestrained extravagance, Obama displays the “sort of hypocrisy that leads to a complete lack of faith in political leadership,” Groom says.

Groom’s exposé could serve as a guidebook for reforming the office of the presidency, both in the extensive list of discretionary expenditures he has ferreted out of various government cost centers, and the astonishing lack of presidential transparency revealed in the investigative report. Though focused on the Obama administration, The 1.4 Billion Dollar Man sheds light on an institutional problem that has grown tremendously under the past several US presidents.

Groom estimates that about $1 billion could be cut from the president’s expenses each year with no negative effects on the security and comfort of the first family or the president’s ability to perform the duties of office effectively.

While $1 billion in annual savings by the president might have a relatively small impact on the $1 trillion federal deficit, it’s a significant sum of money when so many Americans are suffering and it would, in Groom’s words, “send the message throughout government and society in general that wasteful, ostentatious spending is wrong.”

One of the most eye-opening presidential expense categories is $311 million annually in “unreimbursed campaign expenses” (Groom estimates this figure to be very much on the low side because it does not account for the full increase in 2012 election year expenditures.)

In Presidential Perks Gone Royal, Robert Keith Gray (robertkeithgray.com) warns that “the presidency has become a de facto principality” where the advantages of incumbency almost guarantee the reelection of a sitting president. Specifically, the unlimited, unregulated and unreimbursed use of aircraft, vehicles and military personnel for campaign purposes since the 1990s has transformed presidential campaigning.

Once presidents found they could use the new Air Force Ones without limit as campaign tools, none has been denied re-election.

Under current policy, to the extent there is any regulation at all, an incumbent’s presidential campaign reimburses the federal government the cost of a first-class ticket for each official campaign representative aboard the president’s planes. Each trip, however, requires many aircraft – often a second Air Force One, one or more smaller jets, multiple helicopters, and cargo craft – automobiles, and hundreds of personnel. So the true cost of each trip can be in the millions of dollars. Reimbursement of $7,500 each for six or seven individuals is laughably insignificant.

A veteran of the Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan administrations, Gray provides many insights and anecdotes about US presidential history and changes within White House operations. Most Americans believe, for example, that the White House is primarily a public building, when in reality only a tiny portion is available for public visitation or use in any way. All but five rooms of the 132-room mansion are reserved for the exclusive enjoyment of the first family. A huge contingent of employees serving the first family, including kitchen staff, medical team and even projectionists for the cinema are on duty 24/7.

Two centuries ago, Alexis de Tocqueville warned about sitting presidents employing the inherent advantages of office for re-election. Gray believes that today the threat is dire, that “these extravagances have the capacity to prove fatal to our most cherished democratic ideals, and we would be foolish to ignore indicators of an executive process sorely out of balance.”

What is most ironic about presidential extravagance in the Obama Administration is that Obama presented himself as something quite the opposite of elitist, secretive and indulgent. Besides – and apart from – his policy proposals, Obama appealed to Americans fed up with the “old way” of Washington politics.

Populist, post-partisan and post-racial, with his major themes of transparency and ethical behavior, Obama presented himself as a new kind of public servant.

This image was appealing on numerous levels; again, not solely because of the policies Obama espoused, but because he struck a chord that resonates with our customs. Equality is central to the American Creed, and Obama was no elitist. He was one of us.

As de Tocqueville observed, unique to the American self-concept is that we exist as a result of overthrowing an aristocracy. He noted our “democratic manners” and that “the distinctions of rank in civil society are slight.” The historian Samuel Huntington reminds us that our first, archetypal enemies were tyranny, monarchy and aristocracy.

John de Crevecoeur, describing America to Europeans during the time of the Revolution, wrote that our vocabulary is “but short in words of dignity, and names of honour.” To whatever extent we can say that America has a civil religion, as John Murray Cuddihy wrote in 1978, it definitely consists of a “decorum of imperfection,” of giving “no offense” to others. We’re not big fans of kings or aristocrats. Despite our occasional infatuation with royalty across the pond and penchant for celebrity worship, Americans are liberals, in the classical sense.

It is surprising, then, that Obama has turned out to be more tone deaf than most politicians regarding the suffering of the American middle class. Many who voted for him in 2008 are turning away in 2012 because the presidency he promised is not what he delivered. For one thing, he has proven himself quite the elitist, and that his populism was a sham.

When, after one of her 2010 vacations, Michelle Obama was famously labeled “a modern-day Marie Antoinette”, her supporters went ballistic – but the label stuck, because the vacations continued for two more years.

When President Obama squeezed in 104 rounds between January 20, 2009 and August 4, 2012, knowledgeable observers might have thought, “well, Eisenhower played more than that,” but the press noticed, and it did not quite fit with the dire economic picture of the country as a whole.

As Democratic fundraiser and former MSNBC producer Matt Stoller recently asked, “what kind of America has he actually delivered?”

Under Bush, economic inequality was bad, as 65 cents of every dollar of income growth went to the top 1 percent. Under Obama, however, that number is 93 cents out of every dollar. That’s right, under Barack Obama there is more economic inequality than under George W. Bush. And if you look at the chart above, most of this shift happened in 2009-2010, when Democrats controlled Congress.

An appropriate capstone to Obama’s term, news broke the week before election day that spending on White House events has skyrocketed since 2009, which one government official said “takes your breath away” considering how many Americans are out of work. And to make matters worse, the Washington Examiner shortly thereafter reported that the co-owner of an event planning company that orchestrates the exorbitantly expensive White House state dinners is also deputy chief of protocol in the U.S. State Department, the office which “oversees and pays for all White House events involving foreign dignitaries.” A House committee is now investigating.

In the area of ethics, the Times reported last week that Anita Dunn, an Obama communications director and senior campaign advisor, is also employed by SKDKnickerbocker, a communications firm representing corporate clients and lobbyists “willing to pay handsomely for help in winning over federal regulators or landing government contracts.” In addition to the 34 ethics pledge waivers granted by the president prior to March 2012, current top Obama advisors Erik Smith, Jim Margolis and Broderick Johnson have ties to firms assisting companies seeking access to the federal government.

This was an unfortunate final reminder of the president’s promise to close the revolving door between lobbying and federal employment – a promise that was systematically broken by the Obama Administration beginning the day after the executive order was signed by the president.

And in the important area of race relations, where President Obama represented so much actual hope to so many Americans, it is hard to imagine any president leaving a worse legacy.

Prior to the official campaign season kick-off, Vice President Joe Biden told a black audience: “They’re going to put y’all back in chains.”

For anyone who thought such notions ridiculous, several days ago, a nine-year-old boy told an interviewer: “If Mitt Romney win, we’ll be going back to the crop fields.”

Among the reasons why former Obama supporter Camille Paglia said she would not be voting for him this year: “I thought that his election would promote racial healing in the country … I consider him, now, one of the most racially divisive and polarizing figures ever.”

Americans elected Barack Obama because they wanted a leader who would change the way things are done in the highest levels of government, and bring the country together after a period of deep division.

The American people instead got a leader who did neither, and fact perpetuated inequality – not only through his policies but through the symbolism of his own family’s extravagant lifestyle – and left the country more deeply divided than when he took office. In what we should hope is his final controversial moment of this term in office, President Obama told an audience of his supporters: “Voting is the best revenge.”

Rather than light and hope, it’s us versus them, a portent of bad things to come, a dark cloud of fear descending on the close of this presidency.

The extravagances available to any US president are mind-boggling, and the pressures to obtain a second term in office come from many directions, so it is unfair to lay the blame for all that has been wrong with the institution of the presidency the past four years on this one man. Few US presidents would qualify for sainthood even by the low standards of civil religion.

There were some 42 kings of ancient Israel, in the united period and during the southern and northern kingdoms, and only 13 or 14 were recorded as good (at least as broad-brushed by the authors of the books of Kings and Chronicles – sacred history, as they say, is written by the vicars). A careful reading of the history gives the impression that the people themselves were equally responsible for the bad outcomes over the centuries.

A summary of this term of the Obama presidency might be that we Americans, like the Israelites, got the leadership we deserved. In the future, we should ask for better.


Comments

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Well done, Joe.

  • Matthew Osborn says:

    You imagine that a Romney President will start using generic toilet paper and will take family vacations across the street at Old Ebbets Grill?

  • Joe, great to have you here!! Great piece.

  • Joe Budzinski says:

    Thanks guys.

    I do think Romney would be a very likely choice to make these types of reforms. He did not take a salary in MA right? It is not going to be found money for him.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Now THAT’S a blog post. Excellent job as always, Joe B, and we’re only too happy to host you here until you get around to putting together that new Budzinski website you’ve been promising!

  • Ed Myers says:

    Prophets of the old testament had no cachet until their prophecies came true. I will consider the truth in this post Wednesday after we can compare election results with Joes prophecy of a blow-out Romney victory.

  • LoudouninNC says:

    That’s a lot to pack into one blog post. There are some good points in it, but they get lost amidst too many arguments, historical references, and singularities. For example, the costs of presidential vacations are astronomical and offensive. True. However, it would help to have some context or comparison. It seems like the title should have been America’s Bad Kings (pl). The campaign and lifestyle largesse/abuse has been going on for some time.
    The rest reads like a rambling Obama takedown and dilutes what I think is your main (and very valid) point about incumbency.

  • Loudoun Moron says:

    This largesse extends into all areas of government, not just the Presidency. Witness the Loudoun BOS and their escort to the Romney rally. Or any low-level Congressman who thinks they need a security escort.

    And yes, the perks of the Presidency need to be reigned in.

  • Aussymom says:

    Bush Spent 5 Times More On Flights To Texas Than Obama‘s Christmas Vacation Costs
    Sorry but you are wrong!

  • edmundburkenator says:

    An interesting discussion could be had on the role of the presidency, but I have to get through all the partisan hackery to get to it.

    Too bad.

    Do you want a discussion, or is this sermon for the choir?

  • Joe Budzinski says:

    Tonight is a night for hackery. Tomorrow night also. Wednesday should be different.

    This is one of those topics that could’ve been a book, once I got started. Basically, one of those deals where I did not have time to write a shorter post. The next will be pithier, I promise.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    “Tonight is a night for hackery.”

    Well, mission accomplished.

  • Scout says:

    I must say that I don’t really detect much about this presidency that seems particularly overblown in Old Testament, first Samuel terms. The costs that surround the American President (whoever that may be) are largely security-driven. It means that a summer vacation for the Obamas costs more than my summer vacation with my wife and two daughters, but, then again, all I need to take with me are my flip-flops and a laptop. The President of the United States has to take the Executive Branch of the Government with him.

  • Joe Budzinski says:

    Scout, security and transportation are definitely the biggest expenses. But they don’t just make it cost “more”, they make it cost MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH more. So the question is, how many such trips can be taken, and to where, and who comes along?

    When Bush went to his ranch, where he spent 487 days of his presidency, it was his ranch. He owns all the buildings and can put whomever he wants in them. They did not need to do anything like what we have to do in Hawaii or Martha’s Vineyard or Aspen or Marbella Spain or anywhere else for the Obamas.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Sounds like ranches need to be part of the requirement for running for the office of the presidency — or be really wealthy.

  • Joe Budzinski says:

    Or don’t take 16 vacations to fabulous resorts the first 3 years in office. Maybe save some of the vacations until you are out of office.

  • Joe Budzinski says:

    Or just go to your own home. Or just use Camp David, which is already staffed by 150 personnel year round, and has rarely been used during the Obama presidency.

  • Elder Berry says:

    Joe, it’s a pity your author didn’t turn an equivalent microscope on the Bush administration. Seems to me Obama is not doing anything out of the ordinary, nor are the First Lady and the Obama daughters traveling more or differently than Laura and the Bush girls did. And your comment about using Camp David could equally apply to the Bushes. Can’t imagine that there was any less cost for security at the Bush’s Texas place than in Hawaii.

    I could believe your post was sincerely concerned about an imperial presidency if you weren’t in such laser focus on the current occupant of the White House to the exclusion of his opposing party predecessor. Your outrage being party-specific kind of blows your cover.

  • Joe Budzinski says:

    Cover? What the hell? When I need cover, I will move to Idaho.

    Neither author seems overly fond of Bush II. Groom, of The 1.4 Billion Dollar Man, says as much.

    The point regarding vacations is that the Obamas spend taxpayer money with classless abandon. This blog post was way long enough without doing a full book report on either book.

    When the Obamas take their many waterside vacations, there is an amazing array of security surrounding them, entailing multiple military units. Guys in boats, guys renting villas all around, local PD and fire and rescue following everywhere.

    From what I hear, the Bushes used Camp David a lot. As a taxpayer, that is what I want the president to do, since the place is being paid for anyway.

    This type of study was arduous because the expenses are all hidden. I am sure either author would love to expand the scope to more previous presidents if they had the manpower. Ideally, some reforms will be put in place, like a modicum of oversight of presidential expenses. Just roll the policy back to where it was in the 1970s or 80s and that will save us a ton of money.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Maybe the president should just come from the DC/metro area, so we don’t have to fly them home — certainly no more Hawaiian (well, Kenya wink, wink) presidents!

    For your forthcoming book:

    Obama: 61 days on vacation his first 31 months
    Bush: 180 days on vacation during his first 31 months
    Clinton: 28 days on vacation during his first 31 months
    Bush: ?
    Reagan: 112 days on vacation during his first 31 months

    “During Bush’s two terms, the cost of operating Air Force One ranged from $56,800 to $68,000 an hour. Bush used Air Force One 77 times to go to his ranch in Crawford, TX. Using the low end cost of $56,800, Media Matters calculated that each trip to Crawford cost taxpayers $259,687 each time, and $20 million total for Bush’s ranch flights.

    If cost of the flight was the only expense involved to taxpayers Bush’s vacations would still seem rather economical, but there is more, much more. Unlike the Obama’s $4 million Christmas vacation price tag, which includes the cost of everything from transportation to accommodations for the First Family, the White House staff, and the White House press corps, Bush’s numbers only include the cost of flying the president to Crawford. The cost of transporting and accommodating staff, media, friends and family is not included in Bush’s vacation numbers.”

  • BlackOut says:

    Joe, as always you post a lot to chew on. And it always leads to lively debate. I try and chop off a little of what you said associated with the vacations and their associated budgets.

    I do not see this as a dem or rep issue. I do not see it as one President’s propensity for relaxation over another. I think it needs to be addressed directly in a non-partisan way.

    What I will take issue with you on is your inference that this is somehow perciptated by Obama. Paul Brandus is a journalist that has covered Obama over his four years in office. He is a self professed non-partisan. His article on distortions on Obama and his leisure time is most insightful and frankly challenges your assertions on Obama’s use of public funds for his off time.

    Here’s the full article:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/deconstructing-myths-about-obama-2012-11

    I don’t think you can take the business insider as a liberal leaning publication, as right now, there is an ad at the top stating “Why does Kaine get an F from the NRA”.

    Anyway, here’s few highlights:

    “Obama has played more golf than any president in history

    This isn’t even close to being true. Now, there’s no question that he plays on a regular basis: 104 rounds from January 2009 through Aug. 4 of this year, the last time he played, according to Mark Knoller, the longtime White House correspondent for CBS Radio.

    That puts him about in the middle when compared with other duffers-in-chief. It’s less than Bill Clinton, and a lot less than Dwight Eisenhower, who played more than 800 rounds over eight years — four times as often as Obama plays.

    And why is it an outrage if the president, who heads one of three branches of government, golfs 104 times in three-and-a-half-years, but the head of another branch of government, the Speaker of the House, plays four times as much? You heard correctly: John Boehner once told Golf Digest that he plays upwards of 100 rounds a year. Seems like a double standard, no?”

  • BlackOut says:

    Obama has taken more vacation time than any president in history

    This isn’t even remotely accurate either, but first, some context from Nancy Reagan: “Presidents don’t get vacations — they just get a change of scenery. The job goes with you.” The responsibilities, the pressure, the officer with the “nuclear football” — it’s all with a commander-in-chief at all times. No exceptions.

    But how much time away from the White House has President Obama spent, and how does this compare with predecessors?
    POTUS Tracker, compiled by The Washington Post, shows that from January 2009 to October 31, 2012, Obama spent all or part of 72 vacation days in a variety of places, mostly Hawaii in the winter and Martha’s Vineyard in the summer. That’s about 10 weeks away in three-and-a-half years, hardly extravagant. Through May 18, according to data from CBS’s Knoller, he also visited Camp David 22 times, spending all of part of 54 days there.

    What about his predecessors?

    · In 1798, President John Adams left the capital for seven months to care for his ailing wife Abigail; his enemies said he practically relinquished his office.

    · Thomas Jefferson and James Madison routinely went away for three- and four-month stretches.

    · Abraham Lincoln, during the Civil War, was blasted for spending about 25 percent of his time away from the White House.

    · Dwight Eisenhower took long summer breaks in Denver and spent almost every single weekend at Camp David.

    · John F. Kennedy rarely spent a weekend in the White House, staying at family homes in Palm Beach, Hyannis Port, and the Virginia countryside.

    · Lyndon Johnson spent 484 days in five and a half years at his Texas ranch.

    · Ronald Reagan was away for 436 days, usually at Rancho del Cielo (his mountaintop retreat in California) or Camp David.

    · Bill Clinton, who didn’t own a vacation home, loved to party with his elite friends in Martha’s Vineyard and the Hamptons.

    · George W. Bush spent 32 months at his ranch (490 days) or Camp David (487 days) — an average of four months away every year.

  • BlackOut says:

    The entire article is very revealing. It’s easy to accept partisan views on this stuff, especially purely politically motivated views.

    They aren’t always true.

    Now with that I still think “Presidents” need to throttle back on expenses, but at what cost? A lot of the costs are driven by security concerns. Are they valid? Are they justified? Can they ben reduced? These questions need to be evaluated and answered without consideration if the current POTUS is a R or a D.

  • Smith says:

    The fact that TC has given this guy this type of forum is a disgrace to what I thought this website is all about.

    This post IS the problem with the GOP.

    This is like he watched that Citizen United movie and just copied down notes.

    This vacation BS and rounds of golf? Do you not remember the “Western White House of the Bush years. And the problem with Obama is that he has events? More people visited the White House in 2 years of Obama the 8 years of Bush. He said from the start its the peoples house.

    But thats the rub isnt it. The Bush years NEVER happened. Its ALL Obama’s fault. Every rumor or theory about Obama is true.

    I have some respect for Loudoun Insider, but to rah rah this diatribe shows that not only is this website not a means to a solution, its part of the GOPs problem. Sure you can rattle of some stories about the local BoS, but your views of the national GOP and the utter lack of reality when dealing with this President is astounding is THE problem with the GOP.

    Its not about coming to solutions or compromise, its about rounds of golf, taking one line from a speech and making it the definition of a career.

    The writer of this article think Obama will be indicted for Benghazi? But he sure can rant.

    Tomorrow will be another great day for America, not because Obama wins, but bc the people will once again reject the ideas, hatred, uncomprimisableness, and utter fantasy that is the current GOP.

    And I close by saying, I am done with this website. I like a good moderate GOP page bc a moderate GOP is good for America.

    But this website is a fraud. LI and Lloyd are hacks. You are the problem with the GOP.

    Enjoy Tuesday and enjoy your ho-hum articles about how it was everybody elses fault but yours.

  • Joe Budzinski says:

    BlackOut, thanks much for the quick reply and thoughtful response, as always. Good for both of us: I, also, am a self-professed non partisan, so between my thoughts and your research, we are bound to arrive at the same conclusions, allowing for different star signs of our births, of course.

    While I have to go out and spend the day helping ensure a smooth transition of power at 1600 Pa Ave, I will say for now that I think you just might be sketching out a little of the old straw man argument … Might you be? …. Just a wee bit? … Straw guy? …….

    I do not believe I make the case that “most vacation time” or “most rounds of golf” (in fact I think I state that clearly) are the issues. But the article is too damn long and the are no subheads or anything so who am I to expect everyone reads every word. Seriously. But those are not the points and I Think the facts you state are accurate.

    Agreed, it is certainly not a dem vs republican issue.

    I will write more after the fate of our nation is sealed.

    Good Gentleman Smith,

    Good morning to you! I hope you are paying attention and learning from your elder, BlackOut, in the ways of contentious discussion. Read his words carefully; he has much to teach you.

    Best of luck to everyone today.

  • A.E. Gnat says:

    I hope you all take some time out today from comparing the length of your penises to cast your vote.

  • Leej says:

    politics is about power period ;-)

    a little bit like religion my god is better than your god :-)

    A bit of wisdom who a very old guy told me and i say it to my kids you become who your friends are. I think that says it all.

    i am so disgusted with all these elections locally and nationally. I am not going to vote this year in protest.

    what if nobody voted which could’ve been a twilight episode. :-)

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Smith is a typical uptight liberal. Lighten up.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    I think the real revelation in this thread is that Leej is a closet Twilight fan.

  • Hillsboro says:

    Nice flounce, Smith!

    I’m just amazed that such outrage was precipitated by Quotable Joe’s epic post rather than one of Lloyd’s droppings.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Epic = long?

  • Sane Person says:

    Good God, what a delusional blowhard. The world is leaving you people behind. First you all voted for the Idiot Bush, twice. (He was the king of presidential vacations, in truth.) Now you present the Empty Suit Romney, whom none of you liked at this time last year. Even if his ideas were good, his flip-floppery and Bainness are simply too offensive. A decent candidate could have beaten Obama. So…enjoy four more years.
    http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/06/nov-5-late-poll-gains-for-obama-leave-romney-with-longer-odds/#more-37295

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    I never voted for GWB, I always thought he was an idiot.

  • David Dickinson says:

    Well worth the read.

    All levels of government—and especially the federal government—tax too much, spend too much, and borrow too much. The Presidency is just a microcosm of the problem with the system and serves as a a good example.

    And, yes, the powers of the Presidency need to be reigned in considerably. Congress needs to grow some cajones and accept its duly appointed responsibilities (and pass a #@$%$#@%$#% budget!) and we citizens need to hold them accountable.

  • Hillsboro says:

    > Epic = long?

    yes. long… very long.

    (Thank you, A.E. Gnat… I did vote this morning! Now back to penis length comparisons :) )

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    I did enjoy the comparison to the Loudoun BOS and their police escorted bus ride to the Romney rally. More unnecessary bullshit.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Usually sane people don’t foam at the mouth, but maybe that’s another concept that has evolved.

    Ah well

    hillsboro, “flounce” is kind (and funny)

  • Leej says:

    ED i love it being called a closet twilight zone fan best compliment ever :-) thanks

    at least you did not comment on my grammar and spelling ;-)

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Oh Leej. I thought you were into teen literature (Twilight saga) and not classic Rod Serling.

    My bad.

    Barbara, I too was surprised at Joe’s foamy post.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    eb, as usual you only seem to be registering your own reality–first post is “well done, Joe” from me.

    I was commenting on the sock self-named “sane person”.

  • Eric the 1/2 Troll says:

    I think eb understood everything completely, Barb. Perhaps his comment was lost on you…

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Poor Barbara. She must have stowed her sarcasm meter away until after the election… or it needs recalibration.

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