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Oglesby: Thoughts on Paterno, Obamacare, GOP race
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Another good friend, banker and community worker died after deadline for my last column. Paul Seals was a vice president of the old First National Bank, later Regions Bank, working closely with Ray McRae and Richard Shockley. He worked tirelessly in his civic club and many projects helping others the general public knew nothing about. We'll miss him.

Penn State destroyed football coach Joe Paterno's reputation he'd worked nearly a half-century building while becoming the winningest coach in college football history. He learned an assistant coach had been caught sexually molesting young boys. He did what he was supposed to do - notify his superior. Most employers don't want employees bypassing them.

A couple and I were talking after Paterno was fired. The wife's employer's policy for sexual harassment and child molestation claims must go through superiors, not directly to police. Most plans she knew anything about were similar.

Maybe Paterno should have followed up aggressively, but didn't. That failure doesn't warrant destroying a stellar reputation.

The Supreme Court hears Obamacare arguments in March. My feelings are mixed. Some parts are good, others aren't, particularly the job-killing provisions going into effect in 2014 that have kept employers from adding personnel.

I don't necessarily oppose requiring everyone to have at least a high deductible insurance coverage which should be the least expensive to them. One never knows when medical treatment (including high cost) will be needed. Without that minimal coverage taxpayers are stuck with the total bill.

Like most of us, I don't know the legal provisions and will be very interested. Also interesting was the recent discovery of still another tax increase Obama slipped in to be effective after the election. People or estates selling homes will pay a 3.5 percent sales tax on the gross proceeds.

The Supreme Court's philosophical composition should be a major presidential election concern. Filling the next vacancy will effectively cement the country's direction for years. Re-elect Obama and we'll have a solid liberal majority supporting cradle-to-grave government-paid intervention. Elect a Republican and we'll have job-creating, innovating and improving free enterprise.

How Herman Cain has handled the sexual harassment charges against him is likely the beginning of the end of his GOP presidential race. The charges against him require answering all questions rather than declare he's innocent. His "ain't going to talk about it anymore" won't fly.

He also must repair the third leg of his 9-9-9 tax plan. The first two 9's are OK. The other raise taxes significantly, especially hurting lower and middle income levels. Other awkward stumbles suggest he's not ready for the presidency.

An early prediction (put the date down): The GOP race will come down to Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Either could win; both have baggage.

Romney has Romneycare where Barack Obama got the Obamcare idea, he flip-flopped on issues and his Mormonism worries many.

Gingrich has marital history, and after his tenure as House Speaker, started a consulting firm including a contract with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, government consulting that paid him some $1.6 million over 8 years. They confirm he warned them their practices could lead to a housing bubble; it did.

In nominee debates, he would chew Obama up and spit him out. He talks practical solutions to problems and is the only candidate with Washington governing experience. In campaigning he could use an updated "Contract with America." Barring change, I think Gingrich has the edge.

Who would be either's running mate? Romney in a televised debate said he would select Gingrich, who also might select him. Either might choose another such as Sen. Mario Rubio of Florida, whose presence on the ticket could help tremendously with the Hispanic vote and help deliver battleground state Florida to the GOP nominee.

Ted Oglesby is retired associate and opinion editor of the Times. His column, now in its 52nd year, appears biweekly on Tuesdays. You can contact him at P.O. Box 663, Gainesville, GA 30503.

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