As I ponder the political scene, here are my (sometimes tongue-in-cheek) New Year’s resolutions for 2010.
1. If asked – and of course there is not the slightest chance I would be – I will not serve on the Nobel Peace Prize jury. I would not be comfortable with a group that has just given the prize to a president who talks the talk, but has not yet walked the walk.
Goodness, even President George W. Bush achieved more in this area than has President Obama to date. True, there was this little matter of not finding the weapons of mass destruction. But Mr. Bush did rid the world of Saddam Hussein, one of the worst tyrants since Adolf Hitler, plant seeds of democracy in Iraq, and empower millions to vote freely.
2. I will not vote for Dick Cheney for president if he decides to run. I am sure he loves his wife and dog and family. But his extreme positions on torture and other security measures have accumulated too much baggage.
No wonder his wife jokes that comparing him to Darth Vader “humanizes” him. What are these people smoking who think he could win?
3. Which reminds me: I will not support these daffy states that support legalization of marijuana “for medical purposes.”
Years ago I worked on a major investigation of international narcotics traffic. I’ll always remember the words of a US drug enforcement agent: “I can’t say that every marijuana user I knew went on to the hard stuff. But I can say I never busted an addict of the hard stuff who didn’t start on marijuana.”
4. I will not vote for Lou Dobbs for president, if he ends up running. I might agree with some of his positions. But I think that as an anchor he should have covered the news straight, instead of using his nightly newscast as a bully pulpit.
Also: a confession. Many years ago, when I was State Department spokesman, I once kept reporters from the then-fledgling CNN company off the plane on one of the secretary’s foreign trips. We could take only nine or 10 reporters on the plane and on that trip I put CBS, NBC, and ABC ahead of CNN.
I reasoned that the newly launched CNN, brain-child of an eccentric millionaire, would never amount to much. How wrong I was.
CNN went to court to try to get an order preventing the plane from leaving without its reporters. The judge agreed with me and we left on time. Of course today no president or secretary of State would dream of traveling without CNN. Belated apologies, CNN.
6. I will not be inviting Michaele and Tareq Salahi to my house for dinner. My small dog would put the Secret Service and the White House social secretary to shame with her enthusiasm for discouraging uninvited guests.
7. I will not be reading Sarah Palin’s book, “Going Rogue.” I simply have too many important tomes to read first. She is not going to be president. But she is going to be a force in Republican politics. Memo to Mitt Romney: Watch out!
8. Vice President Joe Biden is a pretty engaging fellow, but I think from now on I’m just going to catch the first 10 or 15 minutes of his speeches.
9. I will not be taking my family on vacation to either North Korea or Iran. President Reagan used to say about the Soviet Union: “Trust but verify.” For these two countries, and their nuclear programs, it should be: “Trust (maybe) and verify (absolutely).”
10. Finally, a resolution that is not tongue-in-cheek. I will not stop tearing up when TV scrolls the photos and names of those 19- and 20-year-old Americans who have died while defending the freedoms we cherish.
John Hughes, a former editor of the Monitor, writes a biweekly column for the Monitor's weekly print edition.