Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Final Dinner

Gubernatorial candidate Phil Graham spoke during the salad phase of supper; I didn't catch the entire message, but he said that "education is not their issue alone ... and if they want to claim it I'll take them on any place, any time."

He noted that there are more employees in state government than in manufacturing. "That is simply an upside down economic model," he said. "It can't survive."

Graham finished up saying that Elizabeth Dole is "a political hero of mine ... a gem in American politics."

That wasn't the introduction, though. We had an intervening course of dinner, an odd combination of breaded chicken cutlet and sliced white meat, probably turkey but maybe it was pork.

Chicken, turkey, and pork -- what a political menu that is.

Senator Dole asked who watched the Democratic debate on Thursday night. She said she wasn't sure who won but there was no question who had the best hair. "John Edwards' hair looked mighty fine," she said, "as you'd expect from a guy with a $400 haircut."

She says the Democrats' budget "is like a giant vacuum cleaner sucking money out of folks' pockets and sending it to Washington."

The Senator is delivering straight on message, but the cadence says it's read right from the script. I've only heard her speak a couple of times and as I recall, she does not extemporize much.

She's speaking on the war now, criticizing Reid, Murtha, and Pelosi in turn. "The Constitution prescribes one Commander in Chief, not 535, and I might add only one Secretary of State." [Enthusiastic applause]

Sen. Dole reminds us she is on the Armed Services Committee and represents over 100,000 servicemen and -women from North Carolina. She calls for Iraqi forces and authorities to stand up to their responsibility.

On border security, "the answer is not amnesty. I am opposed to amnesty." She is in favor of genuine temporary workers permits. Dole says she collaborated with Rep. Sue Myrick to get an immigration court in Charlotte.

She said one researcher said that low-skilled households typically receive $22,449 more in benefits than they contribute. Any policy change which increases the number of low-skilled households will have a tremendous fiscal impact.

"I strongly support giving this president or any president the authority to veto individual earmarks," she said, calling for continued support for the line-item veto.

She concluded with praise for the legacy of Ronald Reagan, as one who rejected the Iron Curtain and the status quo, "and his legacy is freedom ... unshackling millions and millions of people who had only known oppression."

"I believe our state and our country have many of their best days ahead. That's why I am inspired to continue to serve," she said.


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