Decision 2016–Now is the Time

Republican ElephantI apologize to my followers for being idle all this time but I did hit some hard times with serious injuries to myself and to two members of my family.  I hope I can resume and stimulate your interests.

One pet peeve I have is that the campaign season starts way too early.  Candidates from both parties are campaigning and debating in the odd year (2015) before the local elections (some states elect governors in odd years too) take place.  I did not want to say too much prior to Tuesday, 11/3/2015 anyway because it plants a seed in too many people to disregard local politics and local elections as the big prize is blasted all over both traditional and millennial media.  Mayors and selectman are very important to our system too.

As a resident of Oxford, Connecticut, Bridgeport, the Nutmeg State’s largest city, is also my closest major city.  It has more than its share of issues with welfare, transportation, and crime.  A man named Joe Ganim was recently elected mayor of Bridgeport who had been the city’s patriarch in the 1990s as well.  He had served a seven-year jail sentence for corruption and fifteen other counts.  I know how it works; the people spoke out and chose this man.  Or did they?  Voter turnout in Bridgeport a couple of Tuesdays ago was less than twenty-five percent.  Remember that public service ad where they show a bag of leaves being carted off by a sanitation truck announcing Bag Of Leaves got elected and the closing message: if you don’t vote…  If schools, crime, and planning and zoning with respect to what gets built in you city or town, you need to be just as concerned with your local government if not more as your state and national governments. For that reason, I waited until after my local elections to really take an interest with full steam ahead.

On this Veterans’ Day, Wednesday 11/11/2015, I am scouting out the Republican candidates but I am not endorsing anyone at this time.  As I have mentioned before, Connecticut is typically a late-primary state hosting primaries after so called Super Tuesday.  It is unlikely there will be eight to twelve candidates still in the race on my primary day.  I am willing to share with you some observations from debates and other political messages and pundits.

First of all, I am not a Trump supporter.  Building a wall on the entire Mexican border, sending Mexico the bill, and then rounding the illegals in a fashion equivocal to Nazi Germany rounding up the Jews not only makes no sense, but is totally inhuman and we will be perceived by the good nations of the world as the most brutal people on Earth.  Not to mention how he feels about women, Muslims, and debate moderators; not the man you want in charge when that four a.m. phone call occurs.  If the general election in November 2016 is between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton, although I would probably be throwing my vote away, I would have to do a write-in candidate.  And since at the first debate, all the candidates pledged to not run as a third-party independent, I would have to find someone outside the field.

Another qualm is I am very dissatisfied with both the formatting and refereeing of these debates.  RNC Chairman Reince Priebus really liked this last one and it was probably the best one yet.  But the first question asked was about the minimum wage and only Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Marco Rubio got to answer—then other candidates got other questions.  There should be a less is more adjustment.  Less questions, every candidate answering every question, more substance in the answers.  There are no Republicans running that favor raising the minimum wage, but they all could have had different reason and different concerns that the American people are entitled to hear.

I give a lot of credit to Ben Carson.  I have my differences with him.  But while the field is so large, putting the focus on Carson, the man and less on the issues is a good strategy.  As a republic or representative democracy, we the people do not vote on bills and make policy—we elect people to do it for us.  One person’s personal politics is one of many threads of that person.  Before we over adjudicate political beliefs and ideologies, we must first like (or at least tolerate) the person as a whole.  The part of the human brain that regulates our social side is not equipped with a line item veto, as it were; we must accept a person as a whole person and like or dislike the whole person.  A person who stands for everything we stand for politically that demonstrates he (or she) is untrustworthy, immoral, and/or unkind is not right for the job and if we have to compromise our political views to get a good man or woman, so be it.  Ben Carson has more skeletons in his closet than originally assessed and uncovered, but a neurosurgeon who has never held public office came out alright.  This does not make him the best choice for the nation’s highest office, but I cannot dismiss him as a viable candidate at this time.

One unofficial highlight of the debate is it was Jeb’s last stand.  Although he was more dynamic in this one than in the previous debates, he still fell short of reviving a serious drive toward the goal.  He wants to separate himself, from his brother, Dick Cheney, and the mistake in Iraq.  But just cannot get past the quip that blood is thicker than water.  He will not discuss flat taxes, job creation, or issues that make push him too far center for the mainstream Republican and hence, the mainstream Republican voter.

I saw it in Jeb the most, but in Fiorina and Kachich as well, too eager to attack Hilary Clinton.  Sure, we all want to stop Hilary from getting elected.  Facing Hilary in the general election is facing the other league champion in the World Series.  This is the League Championship Series for Republicans (as well as Democrats if you still believe Bernie Sanders has a chance), and only the pennant winner gets to play in the World Series.  With eight candidates on stage and no moderate to speak of, there is no contrast among them and they want to talk like they are all the nominee and provide anti-Hilary dissertation.  This takes me back a discussion of the person.

I was most impressed by Marco Rubio.  He has done the best job articulating the conservative ideology we are trying to elect and has minimal skeletons in his closet.  There is an issue with missing too many senate votes, but even the Founding Fathers were not perfect.  Rubio also understands what it is like to be poor and is a voice for the poor and middle-class that believe government entitlements are not the answer.  He also handled criticism from competition Rand Paul.  Rand interrupted claiming Marco is not conservative enough because Rubio’s plan includes an increase in defense spending, as did that of the great Ronald Reagan, who is to this day the benchmark for post-World War II, post Viet Nam War, and twenty-first century compassionate conservatism.  Rand Paul would have been right if he had lived before World War II, before NATO, in an era where the advice of George Washington to maintain isolationism and have no permanent alliances were in vogue.  But in the unstable world of which we are part of, and the post Soviet Union era in Russia, anyone who gets elected president, liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, will inherit a world where the United States of America, the nation such president will be empowered to govern, is the only Super Power in the world.  You cannot change that by simply posting a sign at every port, airport, and oceanfront SUPER POWER FOR SALE—we don’t want the responsibility anymore.  Though Paul may be on point that continued increases in defense spending can make balancing the budget like draining the bathtub with the water running, defense spending is a necessary evil and the military is the one institution the federal government is constitutionally obligated to fund and foster.  The question with Marco is Can he play with the big boys?  Rand Paul’s interruption may just be a flash in the pan, but his biggest competition comes from Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Ted Cruz.

Until we get to the Iowa Caucus and the campaign season is in full swing, let’s just sit back and have some fun with this.  And let’s decide how we feel about each person as a whole.

 

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