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Culling the Herd

This blog has been silent of late, due, in no small measure to my own laziness, but also and more significantly by my ennui about all things political. Public reactions to the issues of the day and the coverage of the media have left me stunned silent and unable to articulate a response. I cannot grasp how an intelligent person can think the way that so many people seem to be thinking lately. I cannot follow how rational minds can accept the overreach of the judiciary and the executive branches of government without so much as an outcry about checks and balances. But before I go completely into rant mode, I do want to answer a political question my niece asked me in response to a comment I made on a friend’s Facebook post.

My pastor, Randy White, wrote a blog in which he analyzed the Fox news republican “debate.” I put that in quotes because it was not so much a debate as an attempt by Fox to rank the candidates. I won’t spell out Randy’s entire post here, but suffice to say he and I agreed on almost every point. This is a lot of why he has been my pastor for the past 9 years. He’s leaving the church now and I am very upset about it.

The debates are supposed to help the public find a candidate to support. This should allow the field of candidates be winnowed down to a reasonable number. We started the campaign season with a record seventeen republicans; too many to appear on one stage at the same time. Fox divided them up according to their polling numbers, which is no small statement about their viability as a candidate.

The candidates I feel have a shot:

Ted Cruz: He’s a long shot, but it is not outside the realm of possibility that he could pull off the nomination with some money and a good CM.

Mike Huckabee: One of the best speakers in the field. He communicates well and he has a lot of good ideas. His biggest weakness in the election is his strongest asset to his base: his faith. As an ordained minister, a lot of people are not comfortable with someone so strong in his faith leading the country, which is a shame. We need more like him.

Marco Rubio: Young, energetic and Latino. I differ from Randy on this one. The pundits like him and they love to categorize him as the republican’s best hope for relevance in the future. His youth may work against him unless he gets a crack team on his campaign. My biggest problem with him is his support for amnesty for illegal aliens.

Jeb Bush: Pros: Experience, name recognition, good speaker. Cons: Name recognition, waffler, past support for Planned Parenthood. I’m not a big fan of the younger Bush, and a lot of moderates are similarly unimpressed. Liberals will shut him down out of spite for GW’s administration. He has the best chance, however, of sustaining a campaign thanks to the established power base within the party.

Kasich: Was on the stage as a nod to Ohio only. He had some good responses to the questions he was soft-pitched, but he hasn’t spelled out his policy platform yet, aside from commenting on the media issues of immigration and abortion. He doesn’t have enough wide-spread support to maintain a campaign.

Rand Paul: The hothead. A lot of bluster and good interchange between him and Trump and Bush. Makes for good television, but that’s all he’s good for. He reminds me of the one guy hollering at the back of a crowd that desperately wants him to shut up, even if they know he’s right. I don’t see him riding it out until the end. He doesn’t have a presidential bearing.

Ben Carson: I loved his responses and I love his message. If no one had to actually hear him say it, he would go a long way. As it is, he looked unsteady on the stage, pale, almost sickly and tentative in his tone. He did not look presidential, even though he had some of the best things to say. If he gets an image consultant, he may last it out, otherwise not.

Donald Trump: I may be alone on this, but I hope not. Trump is NOT a republican candidate. Trump is on the Clinton campaign. His mission is to split the vote, and he is well on his way to doing so. Allow me to elucidate.

The current Democratic Party contest consists of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Sanders is an admitted socialist running as a democrat (semantics, I know, since they have become one and the same) and not a genuine candidate. The party just has to have someone else to look like they are having a real primary since they have no incumbent. Hillary took a dive in ’08 so the party could elect the first black president in history with a proviso that she would be the candidate in ’16. There will be no other viable candidate on the democratic ticket unless Hillary gets convicted.

Now, the democrats are well aware that Obama has lost a lot of the moderate and independent voters that helped get him into office. Since those voters are up in the air, the only way to ensure Hillary gets elected is to prevent those independent and moderate voters from voting republican. The best way to do that is to give them an alternative: enter Donald Trump. Trump is spouting the republican battle cry like a seasoned general—almost like he actually believes it. Heck, I like what he’s saying. I agree with most of what he is saying. The problem is that I don’t think he actually believes what he is saying.

He won’t get the nomination. He will announce as an independent. He will do his best to keep the support he drums up through the republican primary, thereby weakening the republican candidate’s support. If you do not want Hillary in the Whitehouse, do not support Trump.

The second tier candidates had a mini debate before the main show and none of those are likely to survive the first wave of cuts. Rick Perry’s campaign is already on the rocks financially. Fiorina has a lot going for her if she can get more exposure. If she can get her numbers up, she may ride it out. My biggest problem with her is her support of abortion as a “women’s health” issue. You will find that she won’t tow the party line on abortion and she will probably duck the issue the whole way through the campaign. I anticipate the campaign will be narrowed to ten before Thanksgiving, and four or five by Caucus time.

It is too early to pick a candidate now, however. Always use the whole primary period to research all the candidates and when voting time comes, then make your decision. Please do NOT rely solely on the media for this information. It would be akin to buying a car solely on the salesman’s pitch. Look the information up yourself.

Happy voting.

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Picking Sides

As the government shutdown enters into its third week, the pundits are ramping up the blame game by pointing fingers at everyone on capitol hill.  The blogosphere is repleat with opinions from republican supporters as well as democrat opiners.  These bloggers’ blame is directed along party lines.  Democrats point the finger at the house and specifically at Ted Cruz while the republican bloggers blame the senate/president.  The solution, they all say, is for the other side to cave in, surrender and capitulate.

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Face the Nation host Bob Sheaffer questioned in his Sunday commentary why the two sides couldn’t set aside party differences and compromise for the good of the country.  What he and the bloggers fail to consider is that neither side can compromise and neither side alone is at fault for the shutdown.
Obama and the senate have committed to the ACA (Obamacare) to the degree that if they agree to back off or even delay implementation, they concede their whole position on the issue.  It would be like admitting they were wrong or misled the public when they forced the law through.  It would unwind the whole law, which is what the republicans want.
Ted Cruz and the republicans cannot submit a budget that funds the ACA because to do so would validate the law and make it next to impossible to repeal without winning both the Senate and the White House in 2016, and by that time, it would cause more problems to repeal it.  Also, a failure to decapitate the ACA would cause more problems in the 2014 elections and could conceivably cost the Republicans the House.  They have to gut it here, or may not be able to at all.
The two sides are at opposite ends and to not win is to lose.  This issue is a pass/fail situation because it is a yes/no question.  Fund it or not.  Accept a budget without ACA or not.  The House did try to compromise by kicking the funding down the curb until next year, but that was rejected out of hand by the Senate.  The president has said repeatedly that he will not sign any budget that does not fund the ACA, even if it is accepted by the Senate.
This is a classic stalemate and in the end, it will boil down to who blinks first and that can only be determined by the party on whom the people put the most pressure.  This is a matter for the people.  If the people really want the ACA, then they should call the house republicans and tell them to back down.  If voters believe that the ACA is a bad deal and shouldn’t be law, they should contact the president and the senate democrats and tell them to accept the house budget proposal.
That having been said, there are some things to consider.  The fact that it is called a law does not mean it has to be funded, especially considering the way with which it was enacted and given the almost unanimous opposition it is generating from businesses and the medical community.  Financial expert Dave Ramsey blasted the ACA because, despite the administration’s claims to the contrary, the law will raise premiums for almost every currently insured person in the country and it will cost every person who currently pays taxes.  In fact, the only people who will benefit from the ACA are the uninsured and those who do not pay taxes.  Forbes magazine identified a limitation with the ACA in that when signing up for the exchange, the process runs a credit check before revealing the options to the applicant.  Why run a credit check if not to determine who can get coverage?
So, if you think the House is holding America hostage just to defund a law that should be enacted, then call or text them and tell them to fund it.  If you think that the President is doing his best to push America into his dream of the utopia of liberalism, then tweet or email him and tell him to let the issue go and accept the budget proposal from the House.  The government shutdown will continue until the issue is resolved.  Both sides are to blame for the shutdown and it can only be ended when one of them gives in and that can only happen when the people have their voices heard.

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