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Replaced by intrigue, vengeance and chaotic denials, Chris Christie’s reelection afterglow has shrunk and gone pale. As the nascent scandal deepens and stories unfold, Governor Christie’s mettle and presidential-ness will be poked, prodded and tested under the unfamiliar national spotlight.

The full extent of Christie’s role in Bridgegate will eventually come out amid accusations, counter-accusations and lawsuits; but if he’s interested in demonstrating he’s ready for the the Big Chair he needs to come clean, fire any (and perhaps all) deputies and political lieutenants  and appoint an independent investigative counsel. The sooner he can wrest control of the situation the more presidential he’ll appear.

With congress back to work it’s likely Chris Christie’s follies will be overshadowed by something far greater in idiocy and national import; and with enough time between now and sometime in early 2015, when he announces his candidacy for the presidency, most will have forgotten there was ever an issue – except for the woman who died.


China, Japan, United States


Without an earnest discussion about amending Article 9 of Japan’s constitution the Chinese will unabashedly continue down the road of militarism and regional destabilization.

Consequences forged in the aftermath of mid 20th century conflict are not only antiquated, but if left unattended will leave various regional partnerships ill prepared to counter an expansionist power thirsty for resource and hegemony.

For the United States, blessing an exchange of ideas about the future would give Japan’s prime minister options to confront a clear and present danger, while demonstrating America’s yearning for an Asia free of careless bellicosity.

If some are to prepare for the last war, others must be ready to prevent the next.

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A lot can happen over the next two and half years.

Political fortunes will be forged, squandered and replenished. Prognosticators will gleefully anoint stars and starlets, while pundits salivate over the misfortunes of public pariahs and political lepers.

A constant in the topsy-turvy sea of perpetual electioneering and gamesmanship will be the ever shrinking and verbose governor of New Jersey.

While the junior senators from Florida, Kentucky and Texas whip up frenzy among their increasingly self-marginalized base, the Garden State governor skates reelection and in doing so puts on a much-needed clinic for a Republican Party askew.

Sloganeering and patriotic cosplay won’t change the fact the United States is more than 35 intransigent congressional districts.

The path to victory and thus the path to power traverses the Northeastern corridor, winds through the Heartland, makes its way past the Southwest and on toward the Pacific. If the Republic Party is willing to look past blinding and myopic extremism it will become ever more apparent their ticket out of the proverbial wilderness is going to be stamped in Trenton.

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Fake umbrage and the feigning of outrage only highlights the stunning level of hypocrisy vomiting forth from nations aghast at the precision and effectiveness of the National Security Agency.

All nations spy – it’s just sound policy.

While arguments certainly can be made against the NSA’s catholic appetite, what cannot be argued is that it’s unique and thus somehow wrong.

The United States is well within its right to mine for intelligence pertaining to foreign leadership, citizens, militaries, commerce and vital industries – the 4th Amendment only goes so far. The ability to understand the intentions of partners and adversaries alike leads to greater preparedness and cuts away at dangerous levels of ambiguity.

From Beijing to Berlin and Brasilia governments will attempt to thwart American intelligence gathering capabilities. They’ll suckle at the teat of the public outcry and whimper before the United Nations. The rouse is nothing more than an attempt at extracting diplomatic (thus economic) concessions from an administration errantly issuing mea culpas for a job well done.

If the pots are calling the kettles black, then it’s time for everyone to come clean. 

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Voters in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional ought to welcome the news of Saint John’s University/College of Saint Benedicts professor Jim Read stepping up to the plate.

In an era defined by careerist politicians pandering to politics’ lowest common denominators, a private citizen looking to do right by his community offers the 6th Congressional a much needed fresh face for a fresh start.

Mr. Read sees a Congress incapable of walking and chewing gum at the same time and simply demands more from our so-called public servants. So, instead of idly standing by as a bankrupt status quo further injures the Republic, Mr. Read enters into the public forum to offer service, solutions and a citizens’ perspective.

It’s time for the voters of the 6th Congressional to unshackle themselves from the tired and predictable chains of self-aggrandizing hyper-partisanship and turn to the modest expectations that government honor its commitments, abides by the rule of law and listens to the People.

Published in the Saint Cloud Times on October 23rd 2013.

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Of the nearly half-dozen Republican candidates jockeying for Michele Bachmann’s congressional seat, all are either current or former elected officials.

Despite the oft-repeated disdain Republicans espouse regarding government, the irony of their eagerness to go hat in hand in search of a taxpayer-funded opportunity shouldn’t go unnoticed.

What the good folks of Minnesota don’t need is another unemployed politician looking to claw back into politics. As the past few weeks have so clearly demonstrated, the status quo doesn’t work, and that is in large part due to the dank stagnation of political careerists clogging up the public forum.

Innovative solutions don’t come from talking heads and ladder climbers; they’re born from private citizens unsullied by the machinations of retail politics. No matter how hard this crop of congressional hopefuls claims to be different, remember: They’re not.

Published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on October 18th 2013.

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The notion of a brewing civil war within the Republican Party has been bandied around since Mitt Romney led the erstwhile-unified party to a stunningly predictable defeat for the White House.

As the dust settles from last week’s conservative capitulation in the face of self-inflected failure the Tea Party rebels continue to howl at an Establishment they feel abandoned founding principles.

Before the onslaught of rebel challengers line up to take a swing at their more levelheaded brethren, the Republican National Committee ought to explore the possibility of ridding themselves of the primary system.

Like a limb festering with gangrene the Tea Party and its groupthink mentality must be amputated in order to save the greater vessel. If the largely self-serving disease goes unattended the risk of permanent and lasting damage will only become more apparent.

Axing the primaries would demonstrate the Republican Party isn’t beholden to zealots and demagogues who are willing to dangle the stability and standing of the United States over a cliff.