America’s Most Dangerous Man

By Jim Berlin

The most dangerous man in America has been right under our noses for the last four years, and he could well be under our noses for another four.

And the irony is he’s a nice guy. He’d be fun at the family barbecue and make for a rock-solid friend. You could trust him with your kids, your wife or your girlfriend.

But Joe Biden is still the most dangerous man in America – not for anything he’s done but for what he could do: He could be President of the United States, Commander in Chief of the most powerful army on Earth, leader of the only country on the planet capable of keeping the enemies of democracy in check.

We were put in this position by the hubris of Barack Obama. Like most young men of talent he assumes he is one of God’s favorite sons, destined to grow old gracefully and die in his sleep.

So we end up with a guy named Joe, a lightweight intellect with an undisciplined mouth, separated from the presidency by the fragile 10 ounces of a single human heart.

Unfortunately, hubris crosses party lines and is not confined to the young. John McCain was just as careless with America when he chose a running mate while she was still a political adolescent.

When selecting their Number Two, presidential hopefuls need to embrace the tradition of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. Legend has it he appointed a person to accompany him in public, whispering in his ear each time he received a compliment: “Remember, you are just a man.”

And, the whisperer might add: “Men die unexpectedly. Choose with America in mind.”

Obama has Attack Dogs —
Paul Ryan is a Guard Dog

By Jim Berlin

Republicans who hope Paul Ryan will be Mitt Romney’s attack dog have their breeds confused. Ryan is a guard dog.

David Axelrod, Obama’s soul mate and senior political adviser, is an attack dog. He always looks as if he is one missed-medication away from a psychotic episode. Vitriol trips from his lips as easily as venom from a rattlesnake’s fangs.

He is superb at what he does. He delivers truths, half-truths and outlandish fabrications with equal amounts of cold dispassion. To say he has a poker face is a disservice. He has a poker body and a poker soul.

He could play naked in a high-stakes Las Vegas game and never give away a single tell. He is the alpha dog of Obama’s pack of attack dogs, finding trouble where he can and creating it when he can’t.

Paul Ryan, on the other paw, is the friendly family dog with his head out the window on a car trip. Infectiously enthusiastic,

lips peeled back in a goofy grin, nostrils dilated and acutely attuned to all the foul odors of a nasty political campaign.

Especially BS.

This will be Ryan’s principal role in Mitt Romney’s campaign: guarding against the BS from a President and his attack dogs who have nothing else to run on.

Mars Landing, Bolt Flying,
Sikhs Dying: It’s Who We Are

 By Jim Berlin

On Sunday August 5th, wrapped in the span of a single rotation of planet Earth, three events told a story of who we are and what we can be – the good, the bad, and the glorious.

The good…on display in London when Usain Bolt, the Jamaican with the prophetic name, proved he is still the fastest man alive by demanding gold in the 100-meter dash. The Olympics are a celebration of the human body perfected, a wonderfully-created machine. And Bolt in motion – leaving the seven fastest men in the world in his wake – was the finest example of the Brewer’s art.

The bad…hours later and thousands of miles away, Oak Creek, Wisconsin. A dishonorably-discharged neo-Nazi kills six people in a Sikh temple. Sikhs, for godsake, people as far removed from radical Islam as you and I. But the men wear turbans, grow beards, and to the tiny brain of a neo-Nazi with a 9/11 tattoo they all look alike.

When a nephew of one of the Sikh victims learned of the deaths he offered one of the most beautiful descriptions of grief ever heard: “It was like the heart just sat down,” he said.

The glorious…same day, nearing midnight, 352 million miles away. Nine months after riding a rocket into space, the explorer Curiosity completes an incredible technological ballet and lands gently on the Martian surface.

We watch its human handlers at NASA’s 

Hugo Rheingold

Jet Propulsion Laboratory as their baby touches down…

…They are crazy with joy. This place, where they sit at their consoles, is the  Olympics of the Mind. Men and women not with chiseled bodies but brains of the highest order. People with curiosity and wonder and the tools to carry the imaginations of all of us to a place 352 million miles away.

It was a good way to end another day on planet Earth. It was like the heart just stood up.

The good, the bad, and the glorious. We will just have to live with it.

Romney and President Seek Support of America’s Dummies

 By Jim Berlin

Voters who identify themselves as “undecided” in a presidential race would have us believe they are deep thinkers, slowly weighing the candidates’ virtues and policies on the super-sensitive scales of their prodigious minds.

They are actually America’s lovable dummies – Larry, Moe and Curly — the dimmest bulbs in the electorate, the same poor boobs who appear in the “no opinion” category whenever that face-saving choice is available.

The political ideologies of Obama and Romney are obvious and opposite. To say you don’t yet side with one or the other is to admit to no ideology of your own, no world view. You are living what Socrates called “the unexamined life,” a life, he added, “not worth living.”

I think that’s a bit harsh. People with unexamined lives can still have loads of fun bowling, noodling for catfish (catching them barehanded), playing non-stop video games and painting their faces for sporting events. And it makes it easy to write their obituaries: a simple list of surviving relatives, a note about their nice smiles — and it’s done.

But the thing about undecided voters– especially in a tight presidential race – is they often decide who runs the country for four years.

Knowing this, Obama and Romney are faced with the task of how to win them over. How do you reach Larry, Moe and Curly? What motivates them?

First, they are personality voters. Do they like the candidate’s smile, the way he talks, does he seem nice?

Would he be fun to go bowling with, or when you wade into the water to noodle a catfish, would you like him noodling right next to you?

Obama wins this category hands down. “I love noodlin’,” he might say. “Let’s you’n me go noodlin’ this weekend.” They would believe him.

Second, they are fear voters. Is the President going to take away what I’m already getting? Or, if I’m not getting what I used to, can the President give it back to me?

This is where Romney has a chance. Undecided voters who have lost their jobs and security under Obama outnumber the undecideds who like the way he talks and smiles. They are afraid that four more years of the same might bring four more years of the same.

Larry, Moe and Curly may be hungry for hope and change.

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