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Oglesby: Change, yes, but let’s make sure it’s for the better

POSTED: October 3, 2008 5:01 a.m.

Don't forget this Saturday morning from 7-11 at the Civic Center Gainesville Kiwanians, Key Club members and others will be cooking and serving a pancake breakfast with all the trimmings, entertainment, door prizes and loads of fellowship and fun.

It has become a decades-old community tradition and annual family affair. All proceeds go to the many Kiwanis youth service projects. I'll see you there.

Another note: You have a couple of weeks during which you can sign up for the course on understanding terrorism I'll be teaching seven consecutive Wednesday mornings from 9 to 10:30. You can call the Brenau University Leisure and Learning Institute (BULLI) at 770-538-4705 for details. About 60 already have signed up, but the auditorium can accommodate more.

Virtually everyone who has taken the course in the past has told me they had no inkling of the magnitude and complexity of these dangers our country faces.

Now, chew on this a while: Surgeons can't graduate and become chief of surgery, soldiers can't enlist and become colonels or new network TV reporters can't become prime-time anchors after 143 days of experience.

Why, I was questioned, does Barack Obama supporters believe so fervently he is best equipped for the presidency with 143 days of experience? That's the number of days the U.S. Senate was in session after he took office before announcing his candidacy for president.

Most of his time since understandably has been campaigning, not in the Senate chambers and offices.
He has no executive branch experience at any governmental level from city hall up. He has no background, even as a state-level National Guard commander, to suggest a qualification for commander in chief of the world's greatest military. A quick visit to Europe for photo ops introduces him to heads of state but doesn't prepare one to administer a nation's foreign policy. These are the three major duties of a president.

I confess, I must not be "smarter than a fifth-grader," as is our state school superintendent. I can't answer the question. You'll have to ask him or his many avid supporters who are demanding change. There are plenty right here in North Georgia.

I also want change. Maybe the confusion comes from the definition of change. Some of his supporters have told me they want change from President Bush. Last I heard, Bush leaves office Jan. 20.

They then said it was not as much the man but his policies. A President Obama would indeed change policies, big time! If you take the time to listen, read and, most importantly, analyze his rhetoric, he promises bigger governmental involvement in virtually everything.

He promises to increase income transfer programs, something that brings to mind my Oglesbyism that "he who robs Peter to pay Paul is assured of Paul's support." That always translates into higher taxes. That type of change I can do without.

I want more substantive change. Both political parties have failed to govern, failing to cooperate to solve real problems in "all my way or no way" manners that have led to gridlock on important matters. I want leadership in the White House and in both congressional houses that will focus on reversing that culture.

We have huge problems such as illegal immigration, Social Security, health care and energy that have grown more and more expensive to fix with each passing day. Leadership starts at the top, and the White House is the top.

I want a federal judiciary that will interpret the Constitution as the founding fathers envisioned, not legislate from the bench, as Democratic appointees are wont to do.

John McCain has a quarter-century record of going after the types of change I want to see even when it means taking on his own party. Sarah Palin has a similar approach.

Legislation is a two-way street. To actually become law, a bill must garner enough support to pass both houses of Congress, at least one of them by a sufficient margin to overcome a presidential veto. That usually means compromise across the aisle, neither side getting all it wants and both sides getting at least some of what it wants, the majority party getting the bigger share. We'll continue to have gridlock until we understand - and practice - that.

In a column at the beginning of this campaign, I reasoned that my first preference, Newt Gingrich, could not be elected and my second, Colin Powell, wouldn't run. For the reasons enumerated above and to the public dismay of many of my fellow conservatives, my first choice became McCain.

I've never met the man. The only time I ever saw him close up in person at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., when he came off a returning POW plane, waved to the crowd behind me and limped to a bus taking him and others to another plane for his trip home's final leg.

Ted Oglesby is retired opinion page editor. Reach him at P.O. Box 663, Gainesville, GA 30503. His column appears biweekly and on gainesvilletimes.com.



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