WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Open Friday / Labor Day Holiday Weekend Forum

So which topics / issues / stories have grabbed your attention?

State Treasurer Chip Flowers really, really is OUT of the race for his office, leaving Sean Barney the Democratic nominee. Flowers' suggestion that he might postpone the date for his official withdrawal sparked all kinds of speculation, and a sharp rebuke from state Elections Commissioner Elaine Manlove. Flowers had wanted his official withdrawal to come AFTER the Dover Police Department cleared him of harassment accusations. That didn't happen - we're still awaiting the Dover PD's verdict - but Flowers ultimately decided not to prolong the agony. So ends one of the strangest sagas in recent Delaware political history.

Look for another clash between students' families and the Markell Administration over the wisdom of closing a poorly performing charter school in Delaware. The Charter School Accountability Committee votes to close the troubled, Moyer Academy in Wilmington. But are the kids necessarily going to be any better off if they're simply dumped back into "regular" public schools?

President Obama's apparent attempt to create some space for himself on possible U.S. air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria backfired on Mr. Obama Thursday, when he said these words: "I don't want to put the cart before the horse. We don't have a strategy yet." Critics pounced. A few foreign policy analysts, such as Michael O'Hanlon at Brookings, applauded the president's candor. (But do you admit this in public?)


"President Barack Obama tried to get himself a bit more political space Thursday to make a decision about whether to expand the U.S. military campaign against Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria, but in so doing he may have dealt himself a significant political blow by suggesting that his policy on the issue is adrift.

'We don't have a strategy yet,' Obama said as he took questions from reporters in the White House briefing room.

The president's aim was clearly to defuse building expectations that U.S. military strikes in Syria were imminent as part of a broadening drive to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. But his awkward choice of words to describe a policymaking process still in midstream seems likely to haunt him for some time.

The inartful phrase quickly went viral among right-leaning media outlets and Republican figures, pushing the White House into damage control mode..."


"His remarks came after days of heated debate inside the top levels of his own national security bureaucracy about how, where, and whether to strike ISIS in Syria. But those deliberations - which included a bleak intelligence assessment of America's potential allies in Syria - failed to produce a consensus battle plan. And so Obama, who has long been reluctant to enter into the Syrian conflict, told reporters Thursday that 'we don't have a strategy yet' for confronting ISIS on a regional level.

Those inside the administration advocating for going after ISIS in both Iraq and Syria were sorely disappointed -- and lamented their boss's lack of urgency in rooting out a threat that only days before was being described in near-apocalyptic terms..."

So war and peace, terroism and security, and what did Twitter Nation care about? The fact that President Obama wore a light tan suit at that news conference, not navy blue or dark gray. Political Twitter world experienced a mini-meltdown. (And you wonder why I'm generally a skeptic of social media?) More than four thousand tweets about Mr. Obama's suit during that news conference. Although some tweets were priceless: "This is what happens when Obama bypasses Congress to purchase a suit." "I'm normally a fan of Obama but that was a very weak Obama speech and press conference. Only strong suit was his suit."

A USA TODAY/PEW Research Center poll finds Americans seem to be getting more hawkish. (Hillary Rodham Clinton's dream and Rand Paul's lament?) 54% say President Obama isn't tough enough. But the public remains flummoxed over what the United States can and should do.

While we're on polling, the latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll in Pennsylvania finds Democrat Tom Wolf maintaining his substantial lead over embattled Republican incumbent Governor Tom Corbett, 49% to 24%, with about a quarter of voters undecided. Wolf kept healthy leads in virtually every geographic and demographic group cited in the survey, except for Republicans and conservatives. And even the Republicans choosing Corbett over Wolf, 48% to 24%, under half (48%) said Corbett DESERVED to be re-elected. Incredibly, even gun-owners chose Wolf over Corbett (40% to 36%); and voters describing themselves as 'born-again' Christians chose Wolf over Corbett (42% to 28%). Corbett remains one of the most unpopular incumbent governors in the country.

Posted at 8:37am on August 29, 2014 by Allan Loudell

<- Back to all Allan Loudell posts

Comments on this post:

Fri, Aug 29, 2014 11:24am
Much can be gathered from the Obama press conference, and it is surprising that you didn't mention the significance...

Before I go there, I must make a qualification in the main stream media's reporting. 4000 twitter hits is not a lot, certainly not a meltdown. Not in a nation of 315 million and where at least 220 million have their phones on them at all times.

That is making a mountain out of a molehill. Imagine if the antics of the town of Millsboro DE (pop.3942 Census 2011 est.) was extrapolated to determine how everyone in this nation, including California thought about a topic....?

That said. Upon glancing at a photo, that was my first remark as well. (I said," nope, doesn't work; he should go back to what does").

The big picture, as to why the suit and twitter tags are even in your blog post, is that there really wasn't anything else to report on. The big picture as to why the right has rushed to say his leadership does not have a strategy for ISIS, is that there is really nothing else to report... The big picture, as to why his suit is the topic of conversation, is that there was nothing else to talk about....

In your conversation last night, (it was the last before you signed off due to the Eagles game), you and the conservationist (please help me remember his name) were discussing this, and questioning whether it was a flaw or not. I think both of you decided it might be a flaw.

But as usual the media gets things wrong. When the president speaks, he speaks to a far great audience than reporters in front of him. His words travel the world. They inspire hope in Africa, Asia, and the cold steppes of Russia. He has a duty to be honest, and to be clear. The consequences of being unclear are very apparent to those of us who once lived close to nuclear target areas. Yet such consequences are lost on younger generations who know of that only through encounters with textbooks, which if Republicans, they don't take seriously.

America's media is corporate and shares that corporate philosophy stating: "if something needs done, do something. It doesn't matter what, just do something. Too late. You didn't respond in time." This causes off-the-cuff actions to respond to off-the-cuff threats, taken off-the-cuff of neutral data. The corporate press has shifted the onus away from "what did you actually accomplish"... over to "what exhaustie efforts did you take." In corporations today, people are not rewarded for the benefit they do for their company. Those people always tend to get overlooked. But the real big promotions most often go to those who know how to market themselves. They boil down to: what did they do that minute their boss was watching? "Oh, he looks good. I'll pick him." Which is why corporations usually get things wrong.

The USA can't afford to get things wrong. We are the United States, and we buy 40% of the world's goods so the world cannot afford us to get things wrong either...

Those of us who have ever been in a command chair, know that the reality is very different from the perception of it that is prevalent from those below. You do not get to do anything you want. You do get rated on the long term results, not the short term aspects. And there is always a new apocalyptic crises every single new day, which if you don't work on, will blow up to ruin everything. If you don't fix something today, you will have two crises tomorrow...

Those of us who have been there, know exactly what Obama was saying by what the media are calling "his poor choice in words."

Instead of saying we "don't yet have a strategy for defeating ISIS", he would have been more accurate to have said... " Right now we have competing multiple strategies (which is true; the Pentagon even has a strategy for defeating Canada if we ever needed to pull it off the shelf)and many different moving parts, so we have not yet decided which of those many, will best work out for the United States and those people living in that region.."

But who's got time to say that in a press conference? The whole idea behind a press conference is that the president speaks off the cuff. He shouldn't have to take anything back. Just clarify what he meant if any confusion or controversy were to later pop up...

Any poker player can readily assess what Obama is doing. Only neophytes play their cards too early. You hold them...

Now if I were in ISIS, his remark would scare me to death. "Here I am getting whooped by 5000 pound bombs. Losing ground. Losing fighters. Losing my hardware I stole from the Iraqi's. These guys are killing me already, and all this has been done without a plan? What will happen to me when they finally do get things together and do formulate a plan? I'll be toast..." By now I'm sure ISIS is seeing they can't win, and only that winning some type of a truce is now their single political option. Although truces would be easy to solidify with Iraq and Syria right now, I don't think they will go there, since the whole point of being a jihadist is to die. Who dies in a truce?

Bottom line, is that real-war running is not as simple, glamorous, dashing, and decisive as the press would often wish, or as the American people have an attention span for. and hence today we have conservative blogs trying to score points off a subliminal turn of phrase, and most people like me, more interested in the different suit. Obviously as would be any of us, he is mentally still on vacation... and didn't want to jump back in to his regular uniform. He wanted something different... Who wouldn't?

Let's finish by looking at what if he had said that we did have an actual plan?

Conservatives would say it was insufficient. Our allies would say, "huh". Our friends in the Mid East would say "then is certainly isn't going well, figures." and our enemy would say "oh, that's the best you can do? We can take this."

The real sadness behind this whole conversation is that one simple, plain citizen here who can listen and figure it out for themselves, is infinitely smarter than all the journalists in Washington, and all the conservatives everywhere.

How can that be?

Allan Loudell
Fri, Aug 29, 2014 11:34am

Talked to Christian Caryl, Contributing Editor to FOREIGN POLICY and a Senior Fellow at The Legatum Institute (who has frequently defended the President) and Toby Harnden, Anglo-American journalist who's Washington bureau chief for The SUNDAY TIMES of London.

And I hope you recognize that I have frequently suggested during interviews that it would appear to be inherently impossible for a U.S. president to express a consistent, coherent, idealistic framework for U.S. foreign policy in the Middle-East because of multiple players with multiple interests... where the United States and another country or group may have convergent interests in one country, they have divergent interests in a neighboring country.

The Cold War was so much simpler, although let's not forget U.S. presidents in those days often confused "free" countries for "anti-communist" or "anti-Soviet" countries. It made for great propagandistic consistency, but of course that meant the United States courting and backing dictatorships.

While acknowledging the above, the bulk of the analsysts I've seen suggest President Obama should not have said what he said so openly.

One "regional" official quoted in The WASHINGTON POST: "When a superpower, the superpower, is reluctant in developing policy, it's not only about leadership, it's about having a coherent approach to crises..."

Allan Loudell

Fri, Aug 29, 2014 7:23pm
Go Barney Fife!

Sat, Aug 30, 2014 2:14am
Christian Caryl, yes, that was him. Thank you.

And yes, I did recognize that you qualified your questions with a bit of wisdom, quite unlike others in the big 4, who simply read off the teleprompter without even comprehending what they are saying... I believe they use interns to write the scripts. Children too young to even vote.

I fully understand the "regional officer"'s concern; however he is not president, and is quoting from his arm chair, far away from any accountability....

Notice he states "when" in his statement. That would make it true as a generality. But in reality, one can only manage 3 goals at one time... Having a contingency for 50 items, means time gets taken away from those three and they don't get taken care of...

Our big three up to the beginning of this year, would be

Containing China
De-Nuclear-ing Iran
Dealing with a Congress made up of toddlers (Obamacare)

Since this year:
Add Ukraine... was it even on the agenda January 1st?
Add ISIS...... was it even on the agenda January 1st?
Add Ferguson.. was it even on the agenda January 1st?
Add natural disasters due to global warming.
Add Israel shelling civilians pretending it is their enemy.
Add Ebola.
Add Libya.
Add your own...

In all this context, it is rather unfair to say what is your plan for Syria? What is your plan if Ebola jumps to these shores? What is your plan if Russia attacks NATO in a surprise attack? What is your plan if _______?

There are multiple plans, of course. There are those who say we should do this one thing; there are those who say that is the last thing we should do; both are Americans representing valid American points... but which one is right? The only answer is that it takes time. and only time can help us find out which is right....

I'm grateful we have a president who is taking time to analyze both sides, and picking the safest one for America to follow. Quite the opposite of what Washington seems to want, which from their words seems to be a president who decides what he wants with no outside input, commits the nation to that action, dismisses all opinions contrary to his, and commits this nation to a ten year trillion dollar war, that was a complete waste of lives, money, oil, and prestige...

That is what those analysts seem to want. We know, that did not work out very well when it was tried. The problem i think, is with the analysts. They have no idea of what they are talking about....

All one has to do is say... Iraq... when they speak, after which... what can they say? That is exactly what we got when we had someone just like that wish of theirs....

Their ideas do not work. The only thing that does work, is being right...

I agree that he should not have said it. It would have prevented discussion on this topic which is probably a waste of time. But the bigger picture I hope gets communicated is that always having a decisive plan made up ahead, and executing it to the tee, as was the 'Schlieffen Plan' in WWI which called for the invasion of Franc to force its capitulation, then transferring all forces to the Russian Front,is more dangerous than having flexibility and the ability to create solutions to overcome any surprises.

Sat, Aug 30, 2014 8:04am
Ah, the mysteries of Kavips!

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Aug 30, 2014 10:13am
Mrpizza: the mystery of Kavips is where does she find the time to do all this research. Kavips brings to Allan's blog a wealth of information on a pretty consistent basis.

By the way Kavips, thanks for your efforts. Even when I don't agree with you, you always give me something to ponder and I almost always learn something I didn't know prior to reading your posts.

Sat, Aug 30, 2014 7:37pm
MFD: You mean Kavips is a SHE?

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Aug 30, 2014 8:14pm
Based on how Kavips discussed female issues in the past here, I've come to the conclusion that Kavips is a she. Kavips never did answer when I asked. It isn't important, either way Kavips offers great info & insight here, bottom line.

Sun, Aug 31, 2014 3:54am
No Mike, it is important. It comes down to the context of everything that's said by a person. Remember: Men are from Mars, women from Venus.

Sun, Aug 31, 2014 6:26pm
And now, the political cartoon of the week:


Mon, Sep 1, 2014 10:27am
As we move into election season, it would be wise to remember how much the Republican clowns have cost America...

Lawsuit against Obama.... $350,000.
Shutdown over debt ceiling 2011.... $1,300,000,000.
Shutdown to force Obamacare repeal..$24,000,000,000.
Benghazi hearings...... $2,000,000,000.
New Special Committee on Benghazi...$5,650,000.
IRS investigation costs......... $14,000,000.

GRAND TOTAL: $25,022,300,000 (that's $25 billion... enough to run Delaware for 6 straight years!!!!! )

These aren't policy decisions which are debatable. These are solely acts of political positioning... Trying to get concessions for their party... There is a controversy going on in Delaware right now where candidates are debating whether their opponents are using state dollars to send out campaign literature. That little controversy is dwarfed by this exact same thing. The Republican Party using yours, and my tax dollars, to advance themselves politically.

There is no difference, and this is another reason why no Republican should be elected into Congress this session. Voting Republican is like promising to give your teenage boy a boost in his allowance to stifle his temper tantrum over your refusal to drive to Burger King to give him some "Satisfries". It is giving in to the wrong people for throwing a costly, very costly, tantrum.

That said, I should make note of one prime exception. Ken Simpler, the Republican treasurer candidate, is simply the best qualified for the job. A breath of fresh air. That is one Republican who should be put in office, simply because he is the best there is.... He first has to get through a primary, and has a recurring political opportunist trying to block him from getting that position. Though Sher Valenzuela gets blamed, the strings were pulled by Charlie Copeland, head of the Delaware Republican Party. It is his doing that she jumped in, literally in the last half hour. He didn't think Simpler represented the "true tone" of the Republican Party.

Fact is... he doesn't... He is competent...

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Sep 1, 2014 11:17am
Kavips: Well said.

Mon, Sep 1, 2014 2:34pm
Following is an interesting video regarding the history of the labor movement. Interestingly, it was Republicans who passed laws to strengthen unions and subsequently Democrats who attempted to undermine them.


Mon, Sep 1, 2014 2:38pm
Kavips: You have the figures correct, but you have the wrong villains. It's Obama and Hillary who have cost us this money, not the Republicans. Yeah, the Republicans could have looked the other way and swept the administration's crimes under the rug, but that would have made the Republicans equally guilty. I'm proud to belong to a party that stands for justice.

Mon, Sep 1, 2014 7:14pm
Driving 95 south this evening, I saw a bumper sticker that read "God is not a Republican or a Democrat."

I think I can reasonably ascertain that the vehicle's occupant is sticking his middle finger up at Republicans, Christians, and God.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Sep 1, 2014 9:25pm
Mrpizza: Wrong, all they are saying is that God is way bigger than any political party, be that party the G.O.P. or the DEMs. You don't have to be a Republican to be a Christian, or a Democrat.

Tue, Sep 2, 2014 3:02am
Hmmmmmmmmm. You could be right. Well that's something I can get on board with.

Tue, Sep 2, 2014 11:16pm
Pizza, entertain us. Explain how Hillary and Obama cost us over $25 billion? You can't. Which therefore makes your statement pointless. There is no denying that Republicans are to blame for all that cost...

Wed, Sep 3, 2014 8:54am
"As we move into election season, it would be wise to remember how much the Republican clowns have cost America..."~kavips

Hopefully those going to the polls in November are informed enough to also know about the TRILLIONS added to the national debt by this current administration...the Benghazi hearings and "horrible" government shutdowns are miniscule compared to the amount of debt added by the Democrats.


Wed, Sep 3, 2014 6:41pm

This is the correlation of medium household income since 2000. As the chart shows, when not adjusted for inflation, we seem to be earning more. But adjusted for inflation, we earn less per household than we did in 2000, at the end of the Clinton years. The Bush presidency stole much from the middle class and so did the recession and the Tea Party. Notice the lowest point occurred August 2011, when the contrived debt crises loomed and America lost Billions in economic activity.

But despite more jobs being earned, they are lower paying jobs than before, especially with inflation countered in. If you think times are worse now than when Clinton was in office, and that they deteriorated ever since Bush and Conservatives came to power, you are absolutely correct....

Lower-wage industries constituted 22 percent of recession losses, but 44 percent of recovery growth.
Mid-wage industries constituted 37 percent of recession losses, but only 26 percent of recovery growth.
Higher-wage industries constituted 41 percent of recession losses, and 30 percent of recovery growth.

Today, there are nearly two million fewer jobs in mid- and higher-wage industries than there were before the recession took hold, while there are 1.85 million more jobs in lower-wage industries.

One would think the Republicans would be able to use this to hit Obama and Democrats on the head this election... Except for one thing: they are the ones who caused all the problems.

Add your comment:
Attention: In an attempt to promote a level of civility and personal responsibility in blog discussions, we now require you to be a member of the WDEL Members Only Group in order to post a comment. Your Members Only Group username and password are required to process your post.

You can join the WDEL Members Only Group for free by clicking here.
If you are already a member but have forgotten your username or password, please click here.

Please register your post with your WDEL Members Only Group username and password below.

Copyright © 2014, Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.   Terms of Use.
WDEL Statement of Equal Employment Opportunity and Outreach