Political gifts for the holiday season

Daniel Fishman | Staff Columnist

Holiday season is upon us as we give gifts to those around us who have made our lives great. The political world has given me so much in the last year, from the pride of watching the first biracial president and first Hispanic diabetic Supreme Court justice get sworn into office to the joy of listening to right-wing activists refer to themselves as “tea-baggers.” Yet although the political world has given me so much, I rarely give it anything back besides an occasion phone call or e-mail. In the spirit of giving, here are some political presents I would like to give back to some members of the political world who have made this past year unforgettable:

To U.S. Reps. Barney Frank, Alan Grayson, Louie Gohmert and Tom Price: a great big stage with many people to listen. People may disagree with some of your stances, but no one can ever doubt how you four stand on an issue. If only more representatives spoke their minds as clearly as you do, no citizen could question what their representative stands for. Political enthusiasts enjoy listening to you speak your minds almost as much as you do.

To Lou Dobbs: a three-week vacation in Cancún. You have worked long and hard for CNN, and now that you have some free time on your hands, why not relax on a beautiful Mexican beach?

To President Barack Obama: a group of Republicans interested in bipartisan solutions. The president has allowed delays to major pieces of his agenda in hopes of bipartisan solutions, but few Republican senators have stepped up to work to create bipartisan solutions on these important issues. President Bush got this bipartisan cooperation in the past, like when the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, the Liberal Lion, worked with the Bush administration and congressional Republicans on education reform in 2001. With Republican leadership in the House waiting until three days before the floor vote to release the GOP health care plan and Olympia Snowe being the only Republican senator willing to support any type of reform, the Party of Obama works on health care while almost all members of the Party of No choose to obstruct rather than help. Part of his present may come early, as Sen. Lindsey Graham seems poised to work with Democratic leadership on the climate change legislation.

To Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
a chocolate fondue pot and a big bag of pretzels. With the House passing a health care bill, all eyes turn to the Senate where Senator Reid is struggling to whip all 60 members of his caucus to support a health care bill. With slumping poll numbers for his 2010 re-election bid, his political future depends on his ability to pass health care by getting all Senate Democrats together to back the current proposal. And what’s better at getting people together than chocolate fondue?

To the Netanyahu administration: a unified Palestinian government that denounces terrorism, recognizes Israel, and is serious about making peace. This Israeli government is open to making peace, and finally with an American president focusing on the conflict, peace could be possible if not for a splintered Palestinian leadership. With elections likely coming, unity may be possible, but if that united government is lead by the terrorist group Hamas, whose mission is the destruction of Israel, all Israeli and American efforts for long-term peace may be fruitless.

To Sarah Palin: a gift card to Saks Fifth Avenue. With the former governor appearing interested in a 2012 presidential run, she is doing what most candidates do in pre-presidential campaign mode: writing books, stumping for congressional candidates, and visiting Iowa. But as she proved in 2008, in order for her to campaign for national office, she needs a huge wardrobe budget.

To the people of Iran: leaders who care more about their people than their own power. The country’s recent election had so much fraud that even Katherine Harris, Florida’s secretary of state in 2000, felt dirty. Peaceful protests to the stolen election were met with gunfire, mass arrests, increased restriction of civil liberties, and fake trials. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has spent a lot of resources on a nuclear program to threaten the world rather than spending money on improving the struggling Iranian economy and actually helping the Iranian people.

To Glenn Beck: what do you give to a man who thinks he has everything? Ignorance is bliss, and no man is more blissful than Beck.

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