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Ak-Sar-Ben Itself Merits Praise Along With King Dick And Queen Suzanne - 10-14-10

Come Election Day, White And Terry Can’t Duck Party Labels Any Longer - 10-07-10

Today, Second-Guessing Other Sports Commentators But Some Thoughts On Current Political Issues, Too - 09-30-10

Gates Gives Somber Non-Political Appraisals Of Iraq, Afghanistan - 09-23-10

At Last, A Prominent Moderate Muslim Speaks Out Against Muslim Terrorists - 09-16-10

Today, It’s All About College Football With Some “As I See It” Commentary - 09-09-10

Danes’ Sensible Approach To Immigration Won’t, Unfortunately, Fly In The U.S.A. - 09-02-10

Mosque Controversy Isn’t About Legal Rights; It’s About Moral Use Of Those Rights - 08-26-10

Time To Answer The Obvious Question: What Chance For Success In Afghanistan? - 08-19-10

Two-Paragraph News Story Offers Scary Prospect For World’s Future - 08-12-10

Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10

Not Wall Street But Democratic Policy Caused Mortgage Market Crash - 07-29-10

Windfarm Promoters Need More Facts, Less Rhetoric - 07-22-10

Nebraska Democrats’ ‘Find A Candidate’ Problem Began Long Months (Years?) Ago - 07-15-10

When The Subject Is Disasters,Obama Needs A History Lesson - 07-08-10

McChrystal’s Firing Spotlights Afghan War And The Slim Chance Of U.S. Victory There - 07-01-10

Advice For An Egocentric President: “I, I, I” Suggests One-Man Team - 06-24-10

Texas Decision Good For Big 12 But Even Better For The Longhorns - 06-17-10

Europe Is Sobering Up From 'Welfare' Binge; Obama-Led U.S. Moving Toward Similar Crises? - 06-10-10

A New Issue: Does ‘Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell’ Make Military Service Easier For Gays? - 06-03-10

Do State Officials Really Understand The Challenges Faced By Omaha Schools? - 05-27-10

Democrats Continue Cheap Shot Campaign Against Republican Congressman Lee Terry - 05-20-10

Cartoonist Koterba Says It Clearly: Don’t Put All The Blame On Schools - 05-13-10

Citizenship For Immigrants Is Inevitable But Start By Closing The Border - 05-06-10

Punish Wall Streeters If They Deserve It But Liberal Dems Spawned The Mortgage Mess - 04-29-10

Did Legislature, Speaker Mike Flood Deserve All Those Kind Words? - 04-22-10

Tiger Sulks His Way Through Masters— Is Obama Gambling On The Nuclear Issue? Rogue States And Terrorists Won’t Sign Up - 04-15-10

Did Obama/Pelosi ‘Sausage Factory’ Produce A Debt-Increasing Unpopular Health Plan? - 04-08-10

The Stories Behind Some Disturbing Headlines And Some Advice For Avoiding National Bankruptcy - 04-01-10

Four-Vote House Margin Makes Americans Swallow Trillion-Dollar Pill They Don't Want - 03-25-10

Insurance Pays 96% Of Family’s Cost For Seven Years Of ‘End Of Life’ Treatment - 03-18-10

President Angry Replaces President Cool; ‘ObamaCare’s’ Chances Helped Or Hurt? - 03-11-10

Americans To Get ‘ObamaCare’ Even If They Don’t Want It? - 03-04-10

Despite The Headlines, There’s Progress In Curbing Violence In North Omaha - 02-25-10

Corporate Expenditures Bad For Politics Except When They Benefit Liberal Candidates? - 02-18-10

Wind Energy Industry Faced Disaster; V.A. Hospital Not Personal Obama Choice - 02-11-10

Some Remarkable Legislative Comments And Some Questionable Media Performance - 02-04-10

When The Subject Is Nebraska Wind Energy, ‘Green’ Is The Color Of Money - 01-28-10

The “Teddy Kennedy Seat” Lesson Might Benefit Both Democrats and Republicans - 01-21-10

Some Legislative Issues—Like Gambling—Deserve Quick Death But Water Issues Deserve Careful Attention - 01-14-10

Today: ‘Big Daddy’ Government Wrong Again, And How Justified Is Cornhusker Title Talk? - 01-07-10

Dan Neary Worthy Of The Honor--
Today Some Upbeat Comments But "Obama Care" Debate Demands Attention
- 12-30-09

Even Without That Health Bill Vote, Another Term For Nelson Was Questionable - 12-23-09

Let’s Talk Football And Why Nebraska’s Suh Deserved The Heisman - 12-17-09

Image of Immigrants Would Be Helped By Less Cinco de Mayo, More 4th of July - 12-10-09

Image Of Islam Is Badly Damaged By ‘God-Approved’ Slaughter Of Non-Muslims - 12-03-09

Close Call For NU Research, Reputation; Thanksgiving Reminder: Count Your Blessings - 11-25-09

NU’s Reputation And Research Role Are Both At Stake When Regents Vote - 11-19-09

Obama’s ‘Yes We Can’
Changing To ‘Maybe We Can’t’?
- 11-12-09

Review The History Before Renaming A Street; Memories Of Sarah, Our Sweet Senior Dog - 11-05-09

“Socioeconomic Diversity” More Important Then Academic Achievement In “Learning Community”? - 10-29-09

A Visiting Sports Columnist Agrees: ‘There Is No Place Like Nebraska’ - 10-22-09

Might Obama Wish He Had A Chance To Say ‘No, Thanks’ To Early Nobel Prize? - 10-15-09

Don’t Overlook The Variety Of Aid Which Goes To ‘Poverty Level’ Families - 10-08-09

Smorgasbord Today: From UN’s “Nutcake Day” To Obama Performance Here And Abroad - 10-01-09

Must Defense Continue To Cover For Huskers’ Anemic Red Zone Offense? - 09-24-09

'Energizer Bunny' President Continues To Add Proposals For Reform - 09-17-09

Today, Variety: Football, Golf And Why No President Should Televise Himself Into The Nation’s Classrooms - 09-10-09

Massachusetts Gave Kennedy Significant Second Chances - 09-03-09

Obama’s Problem Not Just With GOP
But With A Great Many Americans
- 08-27-09

Tiger Could Use Sportsmanship Lesson—And Less Coverage From Fawning Media - 08-20-09

Gallup ‘Competitive’ Label, If Accurate Long Term, Is Good News Not Only For Nebraska Democrats - 08-13-09

Democrats Go All-Out Negative:
Trash Private Insurance Industry
- 08-06-09

Journalistic Watchdogs Turned Lapdogs When Obama Called That ‘News Conference’ - 07-30-09

Look Back, Mr. President: Opposition Is Catching Up - 07-23-09

Dem Lynch Mob Might Hang President’s Hopes - 07-16-09

Dems Start Oust-Terry Effort In The Political Gutter - 07-09-09

Despite Liberal Media's Views, Nation Better Served By Viable GOP - 07-02-09

A Varied Menu For You To Consider - 06-25-09

Freshman President Learning Some Political Realities? - 06-18-09

Voices Of Reason Raised Too Late To Slow Rush To Wind Power? - 06-11-09

Public Will Be Watching Prosecution Of Three Teen-Age Creatures - 06-04-09

Wealthiest Paying Less, In Taxes?
It’s Simply Not True
- 05-28-09

Notre Dame And Obama
Offer A Splendid Lesson
- 05-21-09

Special-Interest Liberals
Shouldn’t Badger Obama
- 05-14-09

A Surprising Source: Obama
Cites Positive Results of Iraq War
- 05-07-09

Media Transfer Their Love
From Candidate to President
- 04-30-09

Suttle Campaign Subtly Two-Faced? Or ‘Just Politics’? Voters Will Decide - 04-23-09

If America Is "At War
With Islam," It's Self-Defense
- 04-16-09

Seven Iowans Change Marriage
Tradition For 3 Million Others
- 04-09-09

Will Liberal Democrats Continue
Escaping The Verdict Of History?
- 04-02-09

Multi-Focused President
Upsets Even Liberals
- 03-26-09

Richard Nixon—Appropriate To Recall The Good As Well As The Dark Side - 03-19-09

Not Reducing Mortgage Costs; We’re Simply ‘Modifying’ Them - 03-12-09

Fair Warning From NY Times: Obama’s “Breathtaking Plans” Would “Transform American Society” - 03-05-09

A Look At Academy Awards Nastiness, But First A Plug For My Book, “Life With Marian” - 02-26-09

Let’s Not Move Slot Machine Cancer From Iowa Casinos To Nebraska Race Tracks - 02-19-09

Whiteclay Is Wrong Target;
Aim At Alcoholism Problem
- 02-12-09

For The Best “Stimulus” Formula:
Put Economic Recovery First;
“Remaking USA” Can Wait
- 02-05-09

Journalistic Hounds Are Still
In Full Pursuit Of Bush
- 01-29-09

‘First Black President’ Celebration
Shouldn’t Further Distract Us
From Job We And Obama Face
- 01-22-09

‘Adults In Wonderland’
Need To Get Real
- 01-15-09

Advice For Husker Fans:
Rejoice—But Be Realistic
- 01-08-09

Kennedy Dynasty History
Includes Shameful Chapters
- 12-31-08

Today Some Merry Christmas Thoughts But A Few Political Barbs, Too - 12-24-08

This Time It’s Indians
Who Break The Treaty
- 12-18-08

Me? A Grumpy Old Man?
One Reader Thinks So
- 12-11-08

Obama Steers A Moderate Course
But Congressional Democrats Veer Left
- 12-04-08

Too Many "Non-Blessings"
This Thanksgiving Week
- 11-26-08

Let’s Hear More About
The Principal ‘Crisis’ Victims
- 11-20-08

Color-Blind Issues Voting
Showed No Turn To The Left
- 11-13-08

Election Made History
But Big Questions Remain
- 11-06-08

Today, A Choice of Topics:
Politics Or Football—Or Both
- 10-30-08

Splitting Electoral Votes Good Idea? Then Why Do 48 States Reject It? - 10-23-08

Dems Take 11th Hour Low Road
In 2nd Congressional District Race
- 10-16-08

Another Government “Welfare Program,” Bargain Mortgages, Caused The Crisis - 10-09-08

Words Can Lose Their Meaning
When A Government Program Is Involved
- 10-02-08

—Have We Learned This Lesson?— Crisis Results When Individuals, Encouraged By Financial Institutions, Try To Live Beyond Their Means - 9-25-08

Bonds To Build Four-Lane Highways?
Where Would The Money Come From?
- 9-18-08

Today, a Large Load of Political
Commentary After a Brief Plug For
My Book, ‘Life With Marian’
- 9-17-08

Major News Media Look Bad
In Non-Coverage of
Edwards’ Sex Affair Story
- 9-11-08

Disadvantaged Students Can Be
Helped Without Discriminatory ‘Affirmative Action’
- 9-04-08

My Favorite Olympic Champion?
It Wasn’t Michael Phelps
- 8-28-08

Will Chinese Get Away With
'Out Air Is Clean' Scam?
- 8-21-08

Windmills, Solar Won't Do It;
Time To Get Real On Energy
- 8-07-08

I Doubt That God or Jesus
Have Heavenly Money on Either Team
- 8-07-08

‘Pop Star’ Obama Lacks Experience,
McCain Lacks Clear Campaign Strategy
- 7-31-08

Top Athletes Should
Know When to Quit?
- 7-24-08

Would Odor of Politics
Taint Fire Chief Choice?
- 7-17-08

Will Hospitality, Qwest Center
Lure Swim Trials Back to Omaha?
- 7-09-08

Omaha Stars Again
On National TV Stage
- 7-02-08

Omaha's CWS Reputation
Gets New "Rave Reviews"
- 6-25-08

S.D. Vote Could Lead
To National Abortion Battle
- 6-18-08

Don’t Let Niobrara Go The Way
Of The Republican And The Platte
- 6-11-08

Voters Didn’t Impose Term Limits
To Rid Legislature of Chambers
- 6-04-08

“It’s Our Turn” Pitch Might
Not End With Hillary Defeat
- 5-28-08

Prime Nebraska Political
Battleground This Year:
2nd Congressional District
- 5-21-08

The 'Browning' of America:
How Far Will It Go?
- 5-14-08

Obama ‘Stumbling’ To Victory? - 5-08-08

"Does Homebuyer Bailout
Reward the Irresponsible?"
- 4-30-08

"Was McCain, Not Clinton,
The Real Winner in Pennsylvania?"
- 4-25-08

"Cleaner Skies Advice For Gore:
Pressure On China, More Nuke
Power If Jane Fonda Will Allow It"
- 4-16-08

"Why The Big Fuss Over
Tiny Gasoline Cost Increase?"
- 4-09-08

"Quietly, Nebraska Yields
All-Public-Power Status"
-  4-02-08

"Obama’s ‘Historic’ Speech Left
Big Questions Unanswered "
-  3-25-08

"Overweight Moore Produces
“Sicko,” Finds An Ally In Creighton Doctor"
-  3-19-08

"Bush Sings, Praises Press
At Annual Gridiron Dinner"
-  3-12-08

"Obama Would Be Least
Formidable Opponent For McCain"
-  3-7-08

"‘Charisma’ Not Always a Good Thing" -  2-27-08

"Could Citizen ‘Packing Iron’
Have Stopped Von Maur Killings?"
-  2-20-08

"Obama’s Style Without Substance
Exciting, But Is It Presidential?"
-  2-13-08

"Barack Obama and John McCain:
A Major Contrast in Egos? "
-  2-07-08

"‘First Black President’
Emphasis Wouldn’t Help Obama"
-  1-30-08

"Kimball Lauritzen: Think of Her
As Joyous on Some New Dawn"
-  1-23-08

"What 'Tough' Election Contest
Was Ben Nelson Talking About?"
- 1-16-08

"Overhyped New Hampshire
Offsets Overhyped Iowa"
- 1-10-08

"Coach Bo Now Well Welcomed;
Time to Start Thinking of NU Wins"
- 1-2-08

"Words of Jews Most Moving
To Me This Christmas Season"
- 12-25-07

- 12-19-07

"Killer Is Getting Just What He Wanted;
Let's Add Anger and
Action to Our Sorrow"
- 12-12-07

"Bo Brings Emotional Fire to NU Job;
Scary News: Huckabee Gain in Iowa"
- 12-05-07

"Callahan Outclasses Loudmouth Critics;
Tom Osborne Treated Him Fairly"
- 11-28-07

"A Thought for Thanksgiving Day:
Tell Them You Love Them"
- 11-21-07

"Callahan Critics: Is Loss to CU
The Only Way to Satisfy Them?"
- 11-16-07

"Crybaby Fans, Sports Commentators
Distracting Players From Their Job?"
- 11-09-07

"Did Bob Kerrey’s Decision Avoid
the Likelihood of Defeat?"
- 11-02-07

"Nosy Congress Makes
Three Bad Calls"
- 10-26-07

"Is This The Way to Run UNL´s
Athletic Program?"
- 10-19-07

"Right Decision Could
Help Both Fair, UNL"
- 10-12-07

"Stop Trying To Make God A Republican" - 10-6-07

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As I See It
Harold W. Andersen is a retired Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of the Omaha World-Herald Company. Full biography.

A number of you have told me that you don’t look forward to reading the column on your computer screen. That’s not necessary if you have a printer. Print out the column and take it with you to the breakfast table or wherever else you choose to read printed material. (You can also call up past columns in case you missed them.)

And, if you haven’t already done so, let us know your e-mail address so that we can send you a weekly reminder when a new column is available.

Obama’s ‘Yes We Can’
Changing To ‘Maybe We Can’t’?

November 12, 2009

Just a year ago America elected its first black (actually, half black, half white) president. 

I believe that a good many Americans who had not voted for Barack Obama because of their opposition to his liberal views still found real satisfaction in the dramatic evidence of the improvement of racial relations in this country—and I would argue vigorously with anyone who claims that Obama’s election to the highest office in this country was not dramatic evidence of such improvement. 

I would also argue vigorously against the notion that Obama’s election marked the start of a new era in American social and political philosophy; i.e., an era in which the views of liberals like Obama would remake the face of America, with government playing an increasingly dominant role. 

I believe that this was the desire, and the motivation, of Obama and his fellow liberals.  But we are seeing increasing evidence that a “Yes, we can” effort to change American government and American society is not the likely result of having elected a bright, eloquent (some would say “glib”) speaker who took office without any significant leadership experience.

Even had Obama more logically decided to proceed at a slower pace in his first months in office, I don’t believe his liberal program for remaking America would have played well with the American public, especially with such a high profile, controversial liberal as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi so prominently identified with his cause.

One wonders whether Obama and his cult of followers realize the significance of the fact that in two respected national polls, only about 20% of the poll respondents recently said they considered themselves to be liberals.  The overwhelming majority said they considered themselves as either conservatives or moderates. 

This reflection of Americans’ political views has not, of course, slowed down the push by Obama and Pelosi and likeminded Democrats in Congress like Senator Barbara Boxer of California, in their push for enactment this year of a proposal designed to remake the health care system of America. 

I believe there is general agreement that there are substantial health care improvements which need to be made, but there comes to mind the old adage about not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  (Incidentally, I am not impressed by the fact that the American Medical Association leadership says it is satisfied with the fundamental changes advocated by the Obama administration.  Fewer than 20% of America’s doctors belong to the AMA.)

Why do I dwell on these issues at this time?  Easy question.  This month is the first anniversary of Obama’s election.  And this month voters in New Jersey and Virginia replaced Democratic governors with Republican governors, despite Obama’s strong personal intervention in support of the Democratic incumbent in New Jersey.

Missing 2008 Factors Will Influence 2012 Election

I wonder if Obama and his liberal advisors have figured out that the presidential election a year ago was influenced by three predictably non-repetitive factors: 

It was the first opportunity for Americans to elect a serious black contender for the presidency—a “first ever” election opportunity that won’t come again. 

Second, Obama was running against a Republican ticket consisting of a  septuagenarian, Senator John McCain, and  a political lightweight—Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. 

Third, the unreasoning liberal hatred of outgoing President George W. Bush was of substantial benefit to Obama’s candidacy.  Obama capitalized on this hatred by appearing at times to be campaigning against Bush, not John McCain, but Bush will have been four years out of office by November, 2012.

It is, of course, too early to predict the long-term prospects for Obama, his policies and chances for re-election.

But this thought occurs:  As you consider the bounce that those Democratic gubernatorial candidates in New Jersey and Virginia did not receive from large numbers of voters who had supported Obama for president just a year ago, it appears Obama’s coattails may be much shorter than he and other liberals had anticipated.

Victory By ½ of 1 Percent Cause For Elation?

Judging from the 220-215 vote by which the Obama/Pelosi medical care overhaul legislation was passed by the House of Representatives, one might ask whether Obama’s “Yes we can” agenda for reshaping America might more accurately be called a “Maybe we can’t” agenda.

Obama and his followers are representing themselves as elated over a victory (the margin of which was a bit less than ½ of 1%) in the House as the bill now moves to an even tougher test in the Senate.

Obama had gone personally to Capitol Hill to exhort the members of the House to “answer the call of history,” but 39 House Democrats apparently heard history calling for defeat of the controversial bill which, incidentally, would cost an estimated $1.2 trillion over a 10-year period.

* * *

Come On, Nancy, A ‘Progressive’
Re-Labeling Won’t Fool Anybody

I doubt that she will get away with it, but Nancy Pelosi, widely and properly regarded as consistently a liberal—on frequent occasion a far-out liberal—sounds as if she is trying to re-label liberals as “progressives.”

This attempted verbal sleight-of-hand showed up in a recent statement by Pelosi, scoffing at the idea that Congressional members on the left will yield on what they consider the gut issue of health care reform; i.e., a national health insurance system. 

Literally laughing at a suggestion that those on the left will abandon the national health insurance option, Pelosi said:  “Are you asking me, ‘Are the progressives going to take down universal, quality, affordable legal care for all Americans?’  I don’t think so.”

Presumably the “liberals” who want to change themselves into “progressives”—in name only, I’m sure—are influenced by such things as the recently reported results of a series of Gallup Polls which found that 40% of those polled regard their political views as conservative, up from 37% in poll responses in 2007 and 2008 and only about 20% regarded their views as liberal

A New York Times/CBS News Poll in September found 36% of those polled describing themselves as conservative and 39% as moderate.  Twenty-one percent of those polled described themselves as liberal.

* * *

How Good Are The Odds For Changing
Traditional Warfare Results In Afghanistan?

A recent column with a London dateline, written by the author of “Revolution 1989:  The Fall of the Soviet Empire,” indicated the size of the task facing this country in what some people are referring to as “Obama’s war” in Afghanistan.  The column started with a description of the report of a highly-decorated general who told his commander-in-chief the problems his army faced fighting in hills around Kabul in Afghanistan: 

“There is no piece of land in Afghanistan that has not been occupied by one of our soldiers at some time or another.  Nevertheless, much of the territory stays in the hands of the terrorists.  We control the provincial centers, but we cannot maintain political control over the territory we seize. 

“Our solders are not to blame.  They’ve fought incredibly bravely in adverse conditions.  But to occupy towns and villages temporarily has little value in such a vast land where insurgents can just disappear into the hills.”

The general went on to request additional troops and equipment, saying: “Without them, without a lot more men, this war will continue for a very, very long time.”

The general was Sergei Akhromeyev, a hero of the Leningrad siege in World War II, and he was trying to explain why a force of nearly 110,000 well-equipped soldiers from one of the world’s two superpowers was appearing to be annihilated by “a band of ‘terrorists,’” the columnist explained. 

As had other invaders before them, the Soviets withdrew in humiliating defeat after bloody, frustrating years of trying to conquer Afghanistan. 

There are basic differences, of course.  We aren’t trying to conquer Afghanistan, but rather to help put down terroristic revolutionary forces and leave Afghanistan with a stable government which can help control or eliminate the terrorist training camps on either side of the border with Pakistan. 

And in fairness to Obama, it was a war he inherited—not a war initiated by the United States alone but involving the United States as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

But the Soviet experience does indicate the difficulty of achieving NATO’s and America’s objectives in Afghanistan.

* * *

Latest Marian Health Bulletin:
Troublesome Toe Falls To The Scalpel

Marian is minus one toe as you read this item today.

Marian and her doctor decided that removal of the toe seemed to be the best way to end a continuing painful infection resulting from an arthritic condition between the toes.

The decision prompted some lighthearted speculation as to what we should do with the amputated toe.  Tongue firmly in cheek, I suggested the possibility of a sort of burial service in our backyard or cremation with the ashes scattered on the grass. 

A friend told of us of a case of a woman who had her toe preserved in formaldehyde in a small vial where it could be displayed as sort of a conversation piece.

Marian rejected all of these possibilities and decided to let the University of Nebraska Medical Center dispose of it in whatever is the customary way.

# # #

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