The GOP’s Misstep

Caving On TrumpNew Trump

 As I have said on multiple occasions, I do not like Donald Trump. I think he is a self-absorbed, pompous, obtuse and amoral narcissist. I could use a lot more adjectives, but you probably get the idea. The fact that he is the frontrunner in this election, and has managed to squeeze out the majority of the suitable alternatives fills me with angst.

When Trump announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015, I don’t believe anyone saw him as a serious contender. Irrespective of his outsider status and lack of political experience, he did not have the demeanor of a presidential candidate. He had a controversial past, multiple marriages and divorces, and a reputation for lewd and misogynistic comments. He was polarizing to say the least.

At the first debate, he refused to pledge his loyalty to the GOP by rejecting a third-party candidacy, and this set nerves on edge, mine included. Historically, independent candidates do not help the GOP win elections, and no one wanted to take a chance on that dynamic in 2016. Trump asserted that his allegiance to the GOP was conditional on fair treatment. Reince Priebus exacted a pledge from Trump, which was relatively worthless, but it served to assuage the GOP’s fears. My take at the time was that we needed to keep Trump within the party no matter what.

Boy was I wrong. We all know that hindsight is 20/20, and it certainly is in this case. I am sure many will disagree with me, but I think we would have been in a better position now if we had called Trump’s bluff and let him run third party. We could have used the full resources of the RNC against him without breaking Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment, “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican”. The plethora of material at our disposal was staggering. Our debates would have been substantive, not to mention less chaotic, and Trump would have seen a lot less free media coverage.

I think his candidacy as an Independent would have been a shadow of what is has been as a Republican. I am convinced that he would not have the unwavering support that he has managed to gain by running as a “conservative” candidate. Make no mistake, Trump is not a conservative. As it stands now, he is shattering the GOP, and the Reagan Revolution will never be the same.

Trump has benefitted from over 2 billion dollars in free prime-time advertising courtesy of Fox News Channel, among others. Fox is the main culprit here, and they are complicit in his rise to power, because they have convinced many of their conservative viewers that he is one of them. They have validated his presence in the campaign, and hailed him as a “messiah” who will tear down the walls of the establishment and usher in a new and improved Republican Party. They are wrong.

In his endless appearances on Hannity, Fox and Friends and The O’Reilly Factor, they treat him with kid gloves, and avoid questioning him on any of the hard issues. They make him look good, and a lot of them have publicly voiced their support for his candidacy. I tuned into the O’Reilly Factor last night, and Bill was “coaching” Trump on how to look and act presidential. He schooled him in evading the provocation that will certainly come his way as he climbs upward to the nomination. It was ridiculous.

Then, instead of Bill hammering Trump on his policies, he asked him who his favorite president was. They discussed the character of Reagan and Lincoln, and then Bill asked him his opinion of John F. Kennedy. Really? (Coincidentally, O’Reilly has written books on all three) What bearing does that have on the election? It is called “filling time” and saving Trump from damaging his lead by saying something stupid. I was waiting for Bill to ask him about his favorite color.

Trump has backed out of the next debate citing his opinion that there have been too many, and he has won them all anyway. I think it is more a combination of not wanting to go head to head with Ted Cruz, who will be vicious on policy, and wanting to coast into the next primaries. Most campaign strategists agree that when a candidate is doing well, it is usually best to maintain the status quo.

Even now, or at the convention, I would love to see the GOP come up with a way to force Trump out of the party. He threatens, “rioting in the streets” if this happens, but we need to stop being afraid of Donald Trump. This is not the Mafia, and he is not the Godfather. Let him run as an Independent and take the nuts that support him right along with him. With Trump as the GOP candidate, we will lose anyway. I personally would rather lose with a good candidate who is representative of the true qualities of a conservative Republican, than see the party damaged by the likes of Trump.

I am currently reading a great book called, The Generals: Patton, MacArthur, Marshall, and the Winning of World War II. As I was reading last night, I came to a passage that gave me pause. The context is Patton discovering the atrocities committed by the Nazi’s, and his insistence that the civilian population in the nearby villages be forced to see what their government has been doing. It reads,Trump and Hitler

“They crawled out of their cellars and hiding places and looked around into a profound silence enveloping the entire nation. Many, probably most of them, terribly embarrassed and ashamed at what their leaders had put them through but, after all, they had initially voted Hitler and the Nazis into power. It was one of the most horrid mistakes a democracy had ever made and a powerful lesson for today and tomorrow.”

Scary stuff.

 

Rubio’s Path Forward

 

Where Does He Go From Here?

 Rubio on Time

The evening of March 15, brought the end of Senator Marco Rubio’s bid for the White House. Losing his home state of Florida to Donald Trump, and along with it, all 99 delegates, Rubio suspended his campaign. Although he still has more delegates than John Kasich, even with Kasich’s Ohio win, Rubio took one for the team, and backed out of the race with a speech that was reminiscent of Ronald Reagan in 1976. Reagan delivered a speech to his tearful campaign staff in Kansas City, Missouri, after he failed to win the Republican nomination that was akin to the upbeat message Rubio delivered. Both candidates entreated their constituents to remain optimistic in the face of defeat, but struck a tone that left them wondering if their beloved candidates would rise again.

For those of us who supported Marco Rubio, it was a heart-wrenching evening, indeed. I am still mourning the loss. It felt like 2012 all over again, when I sat on the floor in my family room watching the election returns as Mitt Romney challenged incumbent President Obama. I really thought that Romney would prevail, as did pundits like Dick Morris who predicted a landslide win for Romney. Karl Rove infamously thought news stations had called the race too early and continued working the delegate math on his dry erase board, but it was not to be. The voters had spoken and returned Obama to Washington for another four years. I remember staring blankly at the television wondering how this could happen, and when I saw Barack Obama head to the podium for his victory speech, I hit the “off” button on the remote. I prepared for four more long years, and prayed for a winning candidate in 2016. For me, Marco Rubio was that candidate.

I will admit I did not support Rubio initially. I was really a fan of Ben Carson and his common sense approach to politics. After watching a few debates, and reading Rubio’s autobiography, “An American Son”, I became a believer. I have never cared for Trump or Cruz, and now, after seventeen candidates, this is where we are. Kasich has no path, so he will be gone in due time. I have negative feelings towards Kasich anyway, and I think he should have departed the race before Rubio. He cost Marco a minimum of a win in Virginia, and if Carson and he had just put aside their egos earlier, as they polled in single digits, this race would look quite different. Even now, Kasich refuses to throw in the towel.

Winning Ohio is not the coup most would think for his campaign, as he is their sitting Governor. I read a great analysis of Kasich’s character on twitter some weeks back, “He’s the guy in the office who drinks the last cup of coffee and doesn’t make a fresh pot.” Some think he is bucking for the vice-presidential spot on a Trump ticket and that could be, but I really believe he thinks he can win and so refuses to cede the floor.

Where does Rubio go from here? He opted not to run for reelection to the Senate, so his term will be up in January 2017. Rubio hit the political scene as a rising star in the Tea Party movement in 2010, after winning a hard-fought election against “establishment” favorite, Charlie Crist. Time Magazine and many among the GOP referred to him as, “The Republican Savior”. I think it is highly unlikely that he is finished in the political arena. He has too much talent and an intrinsic motivation to serve in public office.

A logical move after his time as a State Representative and Speaker of the Florida House would be a run for Governor. The current Governor, Rick Scott, will be term limited in 2018, and rumor has it he will seek election to the United States Senate. At 44, Marco Rubio has a lot of time to make a second bid for the White House, as Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan did before him.

This election cycle has been like none other. I do not think anyone expected Donald Trump to be the frontrunner, edging out the more qualified candidates. I think we will most likely have a contested convention in Cleveland, as even Trump with a plurality of delegates will have to secure over 55% in each state going forward to cinch the nomination. In true Trump fashion, he has already promised, “rioting in the streets” if the GOP tries to deny him the nomination. Ted Cruz will need 78% of the delegates going forward to win the nomination outright, so the chances for him to be the de facto nominee are even slimmer.image

In addition, Marco Rubio still has 164 delegates, and most remain his until after the first ballot of the convention. In his concession speech in Florida, he said he was “suspending” his campaign. In 1992, Ross Perot reentered the race as late as October against George Bush and Bill Clinton, so stranger things have happened. We could even see a deal prior to or at the convention where a Cruz/Rubio ticket emerges, which would be formidable.

 

One thing is for sure, neither Trump nor Cruz is the first choice of the GOP. They want to win and Donald Trump loses in every poll against Clinton, and Cruz does not fare well in most. They would much rather have Rubio, because he is the only candidate who has polled consistently to win a match-up against Hillary Clinton. Will they bring him back in as a unity candidate at the convention? Doubtful maybe, but then again, politics is a strange science.

I can promise you this: we have not seen the last of Marco Rubio.

The GOP Field After South Carolina

 Still a Three-Man Race

Trump Cruz and Rubio

After New Hampshire, and Kasich’s second place finish, the media did its best to convince us that we were witnessing a shake-up in the whole GOP race. Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, in that order, rounded out the top five in that primary. Having Bush finish over Rubio had the pundits debating whether Senator Rubio actually had a path to the nomination. Of course, for quite some time the polls had Trump winning and Kasich with a strong showing because that is where he spent most of his time and funding, but they like to spin!

Apparently, Senator Rubio’s stumble in one interaction with Chris Christie was enough to drag his numbers down, and move Bush up. However, despite the media predictions, neither Kasich nor Bush had a clear path beyond New Hampshire. The media frenzy notwithstanding, I opined it was a three-man race.

After ten days, endless hours of pondering by the pundits, and millions of dollars in advertising, guess what? It is still a three-man race. Trump came in first in South Carolina, with 32.5%, followed by Rubio with 22.5%, and Cruz with 22.3%. Jeb Bush came in fourth, at 7.8%, Kasich fifth with 7.6% and Carson with 7.2%. Bush had the wisdom and grace to suspend his campaign last night, going out with an emotive speech. Kasich and Carson are vowing to stay in and continue fighting the not so good fight. They are not doing themselves or the GOP any favors by doing so. The numbers speak loudly though, Kasich and Carson are on borrowed time.

During Trump’s victory speech last night, he condemned news organizations for saying that as the field continues to winnow, the orphaned supporters will not go to Trump. He thinks otherwise. We need to remember that Trump has never had more than thirty-five percent of support among GOP voters, which means that 65 percent of them do not like him. That is a significant number.

Although he is presently leading in the delegate count, he still has only four percent of the total delegates he will need to secure the nomination. Despite what you hear from the media, this race is far from over, and Trump is not our de facto nominee. Let’s break it down, using the South Carolina numbers.

Jeb Bush supporters will NEVER support Trump. They will most likely go to Marco Rubio, because Ted Cruz is too extreme for them. Add Bush’s 7.8% to Rubio’s 22.5%, and now Rubio is at 30.3%. It is just a matter of time before Kasich and Carson go the way of Jeb Bush, and if they want to help the party, they will do it sooner. Right now, they are just propelling Trump towards the nomination. Kasich supporters could possibly split between Trump and Rubio. Again, they will probably find Cruz too extreme. Add half of Kasich’s 7.6% to Donald Trump, which brings him to 36.2%, and half to Marco Rubio, which brings him to 34.1%.

The Carson folks will not go to Trump. Cruz has disenchanted them with his Iowa campaign shenanigans, so I think they will most likely get behind Rubio, especially if Ben Carson endorses Rubio. That now puts Rubio at 41.3%. As the field narrows further, it will have a deleterious effect on Donald Trump. Even if Cruz inherits some of Carson’s supporters, Trump’s numbers will still go down. Keep in mind that the next primaries are not “winner take all”. Their delegates will be divided proportionally.

Ted Cruz had the edge in South Carolina. He did not win one county in the state. With a large population of evangelical voters, (72%) they were supposed to be heavy in the Cruz camp, but Trump won 33% of their vote to Ted Cruz’s 27%, and Marco Rubio’s 22%. At this point in the primary, Ted Cruz is the candidate on the shakiest ground. His path forward really depends on the evangelical vote, and he is not getting a plurality.

Rubio had a second place finish, and despite the narrow margin over Cruz, Marco Rubio had some great exit poll numbers. He scored highest with voters in three categories: those who are split over whether they want a candidate with experience, those who back some sort of a legal pathway to citizenship, and those that identify themselves as “late deciders” in their choice of candidate. Most importantly, Rubio still polls as the candidate most likely to defeat Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House.

With Jeb Bush out of the race, look for Marco Rubio to pick up steam going into the next primary in Nevada. Also, look for former Bush supporters, like Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, to throw their endorsement to Senator Rubio. Lastly, as we have fewer candidates on the debate stage, Trump’s deficiencies as a candidate will become more apparent. “We’re going to build a beautiful wall”, will only get you so far. Now, if we can just get Ted Cruz out….

How The Constitution Should Influence the 2016 Election

by contributing author

Dr. James Harlanimage

We are in the midst of an election cycle in which the two parties could not possibly be more opposed. On virtually every single issue, one party’s view is the exact opposite of the other party’s view. There is almost zero room for compromise. One party wants to abolish abortion, the other wants to increase access to abortion and extend the time frame in which it is legal. How do you compromise on that? Only allow abortion in odd-numbered years? One party wants to expand gun rights, the other would gladly send the police door-to-door to round up all the guns if they thought they could get away with it. How can you compromise? One party wants to abolish government-funded healthcare, the other wants to not only expand it, but to establish it as the only healthcare. How can you compromise? One party wants to deal with the national debt by cutting spending and decreasing taxes, the other wants to raise taxes and increase spending. We couldn’t possibly be more opposite.

At the end of the day, when two views are completely opposed, only one can be right—or at least, more right. So how do we decide? Fortunately, the Founding Fathers saw this moment coming. They were all educated people who had experienced firsthand what happens when a government becomes corrupt. The greatest empires in history—including the British Empire which the colonists overthrew—all became corrupt or too big to sustain themselves and eventually failed. Likewise, the Founding Fathers knew that, given enough time, the United States government could become corrupt. Hard to believe, I know. So, rather than doom future generations to a violent revolution, they decided to create a list of rules constraining the government, and a list of rights granted to the citizens which could not be constrained by the government. In so doing, they provided us a document—in essence, a rule book—to define what is “right.” Or at least, what is legal. They outlined the structure of the central government, and more importantly, the rights of the people. The latter subject is defined in the Bill of Rights, the former in the Constitution. Our government was never intended to be strong, and it was never intended to rule We the People. It was never intended to provide for us, nor to take from us (other than what it needed to carry out its day-to-day work). However, with each new administration and each new Congressional session, the government has grown. New laws are enacted while old ones remain on the books. The government creates new departments without removing existing ones. And every year the budget increases. The government we have today is vastly different from the one established in the late 1700’s.

Which brings us to our present conflicts. Today we really have two separate conflicts going on in politics, which many people (myself included) often forget to separate. One is the argument about what is ethically and morally just, and the other is about what is legal. Each party demonizes the other using a different argument. Unfortunately, what is legal is not always morally just, and vice versa. Is it moral to split apart immigrant families and deport those that are here illegally? No. Is it legal? Yes. Is it moral for evil people with no criminal or mental health records to buy guns and use them to kill others? No. Is it legal? Well, up until the killing part, yes. Is it moral to have an abortion? Many would argue that it is not. But is it legal? Yes. What we have to realize is that our government is not in the business of deciding what is moral and immoral. This is why we have religion and a conscience. The government is only in the business of deciding what is legal. The Founding Fathers were mostly religious people, and all of them assumed that the average American citizen would let their religion or their conscience be their guide. Boy were they wrong.

So, let’s simplify matters, and take both arguments separately. Setting aside morality for a moment, let’s examine just the legal argument. The Republicans argue that it is not legal, and that the federal government has no authority, to provide or mandate healthcare coverage. They are right. Nowhere in the Constitution is the government granted this power. Likewise, nowhere in the Bill of Rights are citizens granted the right to be provided with healthcare. Democrats demonize Republicans for being elitists and not caring about the millions of Americans with no access to healthcare, but they are using the moral argument. Republicans are against government healthcare because of the legal argument. It is illegal. Period.

Republicans—or at least, most of them—support gun rights. They support the 2nd Amendment. Most Democrats oppose it. Democrats appeal to our emotions, and they accuse Republicans and the NRA of not caring about the children dying in our schools. Again, this is a moral argument. Republicans support the legal precedent set by the Bill of Rights. Is it legal for the government to infringe on our right to bear arms? Let’s examine the text of the 2nd Amendment: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” No, it is illegal. Period.

The concept of “political correctness” has run amuck in recent years. College campuses and even some city governments (I’m looking at you, San Francisco) are now declaring which gender pronouns are accepted, which flags are not allowed to be flown, and what qualifies as “hate speech.” Individual special interest groups are declaring everything that does not sync up with their views to be “offensive,” and offensive language is being virtually banned from social media, Hollywood, schools, workplaces, etc. It seems any statement today can be misconstrued by somebody to be offensive, and therefore, not allowed. And, in an effort to appear inclusive, many entities—most notably colleges and primary schools—are cracking down on “offensive speech.” Of course, what constitutes offensive speech can apparently only be defined by those whom it offends. It comes as no surprise that the liberals and progressives in our society have jumped all over this bandwagon, and it is largely conservatives who are portrayed as racists and bigots and told to eliminate “hate speech,” whatever that might mean today. Is this legal? I believe the Founding Fathers can help us here, too. The 1st Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Granted, the restriction specifically applies to Congress, not local governments, but the right itself is granted to The People. And any right granted to The People cannot be overridden, by any other group of people or municipality. It is illegal. Period.

Many issues of today can easily be solved by looking at the Constitution or the Bill of Rights for the legal answer to the question. This is why we have a Supreme Court. The problem arises when the line between what is legal and what is moral become blurred, and there is no specific mention in our founding documents. Take, for example, abortion. The act of abortion is something that the Founding Fathers could never have imagined. Nobody in their time had even thought of it. Abortion was officially deemed legal by the Supreme Court on January 22nd, 1973, based on a vague interpretation of abortion as being somehow related to medical privacy issues and due process under the 14th Amendment, and based on an interpretation of the 9th Amendment, which states, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” In other words, the Supreme Court didn’t actually say abortion is legal, they just said that it isn’t illegal. And it isn’t illegal because it didn’t exist when the United States was formed, so it falls under the vague “other rights retained by the people” clause of the 9th Amendment. Therefore, it is purely a moral argument, and we really should write legislation either specifically allowing it or specifically prohibiting it, rather than continuing in this gray area of “it is legal only because it isn’t illegal.” That’s a job for the next administration.

Marriage is a similar issue. Like abortion, the Founding Fathers never fathomed the concept of gay marriage. It simply didn’t exist in the 1700’s. They just assumed—like we all did up until about the 1980’s—that marriage is between one man and one woman. Republicans largely support this definition of marriage. Democrats largely support legalizing gay marriage, which they recently accomplished through the Supreme Court using a similar judicial precedent as abortion: it’s legal because it isn’t illegal. And, like abortion, the problem lies in the fact that nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government granted the power to define, legalize, illegalize, or otherwise say anything about marriage. Well then, who is? The Founding Fathers, in their wisdom, wrote the 10th Amendment for this reason: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Is it legal for the federal government to define marriage? No, it is illegal. Period. Whatever your views on gay marriage, the power to legalize it lies with the States or with the people. Not with the federal government or even the Supreme Court. Again, we have a purely moral argument, with no real legal guidance.

The problem with morality is that there is no one, single source for determining what is moral and what is immoral. It used to be that people were guided by their religions. Of course, now we live in a brave new world of progressivism, secularism, and political correctness, so our society can’t rely on religion to guide us anymore. Plus, our country was founded on the strict principle of separation of Church and State, a principle which I support. So how do we decide what is moral? I think in the case of determining morality for society, we have to look at nature. Since it is typically the progressive left that likes to think of humans as simply another species of mammal, formed by evolutionary processes, then this view should make sense to them. Is there any species of mammal that purposely kills its offspring while still in the womb? Is there any species of mammal where an individual willingly refuses to procreate with a member of the opposite gender and pass on their genes to the next generation, instead deciding to settle down with another individual of the same gender? After four years of studying biology in college, I can’t think of a single instance where this was the case. Therefore, in cases where there is no legal definition of morality, if it isn’t natural, then it probably isn’t something we should be encouraging our society to accept. At the very least, we should follow the 10th Amendment and leave it up to the States. Just because the citizens of the Democratic People’s Republik of Kalifornia want to legalize abortion and gay marriage, doesn’t mean the rest of America does.

Going through every important issue of the day in this manner could fill an entire book, so I won’t. My point is, in this election cycle, we as a people have to remember what the government is supposed to do, not what we want the government to do. Free college tuition and healthcare sound great, but the Constitution was written specifically to prevent the government from being powerful enough to do this and many other things the liberal left want this year, lest it become too big to sustain itself. I’m not saying the Republicans have the best answer on every issue, but at least what they want is more in line with what the Founding Fathers had envisioned.

Remember: A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything you have.

What Is the Point?

election 2016Our strategy for Election 2016

For those of us who identify as members of the GOP, our goal in November 2016 is to retake the White House, period. That is our end game. Regardless of who the Republican nominee is, we want him (Carly Fiorina is out of the race) to defeat the Democratic contender, and win the presidency. It is that simple, and that straightforward.

The Primary process is about anyone desiring the presidency throwing their hat in the ring, garnering financial support, and campaigning across the United States in an effort to prove to American voters why he or she is the best choice for the Republican Party. They make commercials, they go on radio and television news and talk shows, they participate in televised debates, and fly and bus their way through almost every state making their case.

Along the way, they spend millions of dollars, and some even engage in nasty personal attacks against their competition. Eventually though, after all the money is spent and the attacks are winding down, the field narrows itself with declining voter support and we come down to just one candidate, our de facto nominee.

We pin our hopes on this man to do us proud in November and win the election. It would logically follow then, that we would select the candidate most likely to do the job. If we do not, the primary process is really just academic.

Every day, we hear about the “polls”. What do the polls say? Which candidate is in the lead? Which candidate is the favorite to win a particular primary? Which candidate is the favorite among a specific group of voters? Polls are important. They might not always be 100% accurate, and they frequently change, but they relay vital information that influences campaign strategy, and voter opinion.

The poll that we need to pay the most attention to, however, is the poll that shows which candidate among our potential nominees is most likely to defeat Hillary Clinton. That particular poll consistently shows that candidate is Senator Marco Rubio. Check it out for yourself. The Democrats do not want Hillary Clinton to have to face Marco Rubio in a debate, much less in an election. Glenn Beck said about a Hillary/Marco debate, (you can look up the video) “Marco will make Hillary Clinton look like she is a 1000 years old!” Rubio and clinton

Marco Rubio is the candidate that the Democrat’s most fear, precisely because the polls show he will beat Hillary Clinton. If you follow the media, you have probably heard this repeatedly. Even Bill O’Reilly, of “The O’Reilly Factor”, said it on his show last week, and Bill is very factual. The National Review recently posted,

In fact, Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) is the only GOP contender who consistently defeats Hillary Clinton in head-to-head heats. In the NBC/WSJ survey, he beats Clinton 48 percent to 45. The Fox poll put the attractive, savvy, severely well-spoken Rubio at 45 percent and Clinton at 43. Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) loses to Clinton in the NBC/WSJ match-up, 43 percent to 48, while he ties her at 45 points in Fox’s contest.
 Why then, would Republican voters cast their vote for any of the other candidates still in the race? It just does not make sense. We want the man who can actually win the election. This is a pivotal period in our country, and thus a pivotal election. We cannot afford another four years of the Obama administration, which is what we will have with Hillary Clinton. So seriously consider whom you are casting your vote for in the primary election. Do not waste it on someone who cannot defeat Hillary Clinton. Otherwise, what is the point?

 

Sources:

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/429092/marco-rubio-conservative-polls-beats-hillary-clintonurces:

 

Game Over!

Christie

Chris Christie Is Out…

If Chris Christie thought he was helping his campaign as he attacked Marco Rubio during last Saturday night’s debate, he was mistaken. Christie invested a lot of time and money in New Hampshire, but after tonight’s primary results, it was all for naught. Finishing in sixth place, with 8% of the vote, the Christie campaign announced that he has suspended his presidential run. In their words, “He is returning to New Jersey to take a deep breath”.

Donald Trump was the big winner tonight for the GOP, taking 35% of the vote, with John Kasich at 16%, and Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio all at 11%. A sixth place finish disqualified Christie from participating in the next GOP debate scheduled for February 13, in Greenville, South Carolina. Only the candidates who placed in the top three in Iowa, and those finishing in the top five in New Hampshire will be included. That means that Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and John Kasich will be taking the stage.

Donald Trump has maintained a lead in New Hampshire, so everyone expected him to win, though not by the landslide number he received. John Kasich has spent the majority of his time in New Hampshire, as well as his campaign funds, so he was also expected to do well. Marco Rubio, who had an exceptional debate before the Iowa Caucus last week, and who outperformed his poll numbers there, went into New Hampshire with his numbers rising. His trajectory had many of the pundits expecting him to take second place. After the debate on Saturday night, and Christie’s attacks, the polls began to change. Although Senator Rubio regained his footing in the debate with Christie, and did very well in the latter part of the debate, the media hammered him over the last three days. Those who did not see the debate had only to open their newspapers or flip on their television to see how “badly” Rubio performed. The media has amazing power to shape voter opinion.

Obviously, I am not upset to see Christie out of the race, and this is not just because of his attacks on Rubio. I have never recovered from his speech at the Republican Convention in 2012, which had little to do with helping Mitt Romney, and a lot to do with helping Chris Christie. Worse still, I think his hug fest with President Obama after Hurricane Sandy, combined with the gushing words of praise for him, hurt Romney in the election. He’s just not someone I admire.

It was a disappointing night for the Rubio campaign, but he can resurrect his momentum with a powerful performance in both the South Carolina debate and primary. Rubio needs to pull ahead of Bush in that primary, but the word is already out that the Bush campaign is planning a “scorched earth” attack on Rubio going into the race. Jeb definitely has the money behind him, so it will be another hard fought contest to watch. Trump and Cruz poll well in South Carolina, but I do not expect that Kasich will have a strong showing.

The pundits are really spinning New Hampshire as shaking up the whole field, but I still see this as essentially a three-man race. Kasich will not be in much longer, because he does not have the infrastructure in the other states, or the funding to launch a strong ground campaign. If Jeb Bush does not do well in South Carolina, he may be out as well. He has the financial backing to go the distance, but I am hoping that he will consider the welfare of the GOP and suspend his campaign. At this point, his continued presence in the race benefits Trump.

That leaves Trump, Cruz and Rubio. All three have the funds and the organization to stay in the race and duke it out for the nomination. Marco Rubio is the ONLY candidate who can beat Hillary Clinton. All the polls have been consistent on that score. Most of the pundits agree. Bill O’Reilly even announced it on his show last night. The goal for the Republicans is to retake the White House in November. The voters need to get serious, look ahead, and coalesce behind the candidate who can win.

 

A Volatile GOP Debate

 Rubio Under AttackRubio

Well, apparently the media wants everyone to think that Senator Rubio really blew it tonight. Admittedly, Marco had a rough start. Going into the debate, all the pundits predicted that he would have a target on his back, and they were right. He took it like a man though, no whining as we saw from Ted Cruz in the last debate. After his surge coming out of Iowa, Rubio was in the unenviable position to be hit from above and below. With his third place finish in the caucus this past Monday, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump openly questioned Rubio’s rise in popularity both with the media and among voters. They finished first and second respectively, yet he garnered all the attention.

We are really in a three-man race at this point, Trump, Cruz and Rubio, so the others really had nothing to lose tonight. Ben Carson faded into the background, getting little airtime and few questions directed his way. As I have said before, I like Ben Carson, but this is not his race. Trump and Cruz both had mediocre performances, with Trump getting his usual dirty digs in at Bush primarily, and drawing boos from the crowd. The Governors, Kasich, Bush and Christie all did well tonight, but it will not resurrect their campaigns. Bush had a fairly successful attack on Donald Trump over eminent domain, while Christie fixed his sights on Marco Rubio.

As the debate opened, Chris Christie came out swinging by informing Senator Rubio that he did not have the experience to be president. He said rather than answer questions that prove his inexperience, the Senator delivers a “25 second memorized speech”. Rubio was not great on defense. He attempted to come back at Christie with charges against his record as Governor, but then tried to segue into President Obama’s agenda. It did not work well for him. Adding insult to injury, he repeated himself several times, which led to further criticism from Christie, and seemed to validate Christie’s initial accusation.

At this point in the debate, I started feeling queasy. I really wanted Marco to have another strong performance going into next week’s New Hampshire primary. Luckily, he did not disappoint. After a commercial break, the Rubio I so admire was back on his game.

For the rest of the debate, he fielded questions on immigration reform, foreign policy, the economy, abortion and same-sex marriage. He was amazing! His discussion about ISIS and his plan to defeat them, displayed his depth of knowledge on foreign policy. These were not talking points or a “memorized speech”, but an intelligent and insightful analysis of the Sunni-Shia rift, and its effect on the growth of ISIS. In case you missed it, Christie was mute during this foreign policy discussion because HE lacks “experience” in the geopolitical scene.

Asked about the definition of “conservatism”, Rubio listed the three characteristics he believes define the conservative movement: limited government, free enterprise and a strong defense. He then proceeded to expound on each of them in a flawless delivery. He was absolutely presidential.

For me, the most memorable moment was his affirmation of his belief in traditional marriage and the right to life for the unborn. Criticized by other GOP contenders, as he was by Bush this evening, for being too extreme on abortion, Rubio commented, “I would rather lose an election than be wrong on the issue of life”. It was a stellar moment. I define a real leader as someone who is willing to stand up for what he believes is right, no matter the outcome, and that is Marco Rubio.

The post-debate pundits ruled the evening a loss for Rubio. I’m not sure where they were for the bulk of the debate, as Rubio redeemed himself admirably, but they were determined to focus on his initial mishap. In the history of televised debates, from Nixon/Kennedy to the present, every presidential candidate has had a “bad” debate. It happens. It does not necessarily signal the end of their campaign. Reagan had a terrible night against Mondale during the 1984 election, but then came back and won a decisive victory in the following debate.

Rubio slipped up in the opening segment, but he was strong the rest of the evening, and I still think he will do well in New Hampshire. Let’s not forget, Bill Clinton lost in Iowa and New Hampshire, and still defeated George H.W. Bush to win the 1988 election.

The mainstream media does not want Marco Rubio to be the Republican nominee. He is too dangerous. The polls have shown that in a match-up against Hillary Clinton, he is the ONLY candidate that consistently beats her. Their goal is to undermine Marco Rubio and promote Donald Trump because Trump is the candidate who is most likely to lose to Hillary.

We can expect endless replays of the Rubio/Christie altercation over the next couple of days. The media will try very hard to convince voters that Senator Rubio is out, but don’t believe them. This race is just getting started, and Marco Rubio is worth watching.

That Awkward Moment

When you realize you voted for the wrong candidate

Reagan

At the Republican National Convention in 1976, Ronald Reagan challenged Gerald Ford, the incumbent President, for the nomination. That was relatively unheard of for someone within the party to challenge a sitting president. However, times being what they were, with Ford assuming the presidency after Richard Nixon’s resignation, Reagan went for it.

It was not to be, though. Reagan received 1,070 to Ford’s 1,187. Reagan conceded, but agreed to appear onstage with Ford as a sign of Party unity. After President Ford’s acceptance speech, Reagan joined him and the two men clasped hands. Ford asked Reagan to say a few words, and without notes, Reagan delivered a brief, but inspiring speech that brought an ovation louder than Ford received. It also left many of the delegates thinking and saying to each other, “we just voted for the wrong man”.

That’s kind of like what we saw last night after the Iowa caucus. Rubio went first, which garnered him prime air time, and exuberantly took the stage, thrilled with his third place finish, and delivered a fifteen minute “off the cuff” speech that the pundits are still talking about today. It was Reaganesque! RubioThe result is that Rubio has been in the news more today and trending more on Twitter, than either Ted Cruz or Donald Trump, who finished first and second, respectively. They’re not very happy about it either. Both of them took shots today at the media focus on Rubio, and attributed it to that old faithful argument that he is the “establishment” favorite. A truer statement would be that Rubio outperformed everyone’s expectations, and we are seeing the “Marcomentum”, as they say on Twitter.

Trump gave a lackluster four-minute speech last night, with his most notable comment being he liked Iowa so much he might just buy a farm there. Cruz hugged his way across the stage, and gave a disjointed thirty-minute plus oration, or as one source called it, a “marathon speech that monopolized an infomercial –length block of time”, that Fox News finally broke away from to air remarks from Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Maybe some of the Iowa caucus voters can relate to those delegates in 1976?

 

 

Primary Season

election 2016Selecting Our Candidate

 With Super Tuesday coming up March 1, it is time to get serious about our choice for the Republican nomination. The next GOP debate will air on January 14, on Fox Business Network, and will provide another opportunity for voters to decide whom they think is the best man for the job.

With so many still in the running, it can be difficult to make a final selection. Every candidate brings something different to the race, and with Trump, Carson and Fiorina being political “outsiders”, it makes for an unusual election cycle. We will likely see most of the lower polling candidates back out after the first few primaries in February. One of the main things we need to keep in mind is that there will never be a perfect candidate. They are all human, and like anyone else, they have their strengths and weaknesses. It becomes a matter of finding the person who comes closest to your ideal and trusting your instincts.

Having watched all of the debates so far, and followed the campaigns in the media, I will be casting my vote for Senator Marco Rubio. In my opinion, he is the best candidate in the GOP lineup. He is conservative, both socially and economically, but he is not an extremist. He is a spiritual man, and he makes no apology for his faith, or that his Christianity guides him on principle. I had occasion to read his autobiography, “An American Son”, and I am very impressed with his character, his values, and most of all, his humility. With the self-aggrandizement among a few of our present candidates, it is refreshing to hear one of them admit to having some personal and professional shortcomings.marco rubio flag

 

While many of his opponents, and the media, would have voters believe that Senator Rubio is the “establishment” candidate, that is really rather misleading. Marco Rubio won his Senate seat by defeating Florida Governor Charlie Crist, in 2010. Crist was the “establishment” candidate, the GOP favorite in that election, and he ran with the full backing of the Republican Party. Rubio was one of the original Tea Party candidates, and he ran his campaign on a shoestring budget, until his growing popularity began garnering significant financial support. Rubio’s continued rise in the Florida polls, forced Crist to abandon the Republican Party, and run as an Independent, ultimately losing the election to Rubio.

Senator Rubio has a lifetime rating of 98 percent out of 100 with the ACU (American Conservative Union), a perfect rating with the NRA, a rating of 95 with the CAGW (Citizens Against Government Waste) making him a “Taxpayer Super Hero”, and a perfect rating with the National Right to Life. The Club for Growth president, David McIntosh, called him, “a complete pro-growth, free-market, limited-government conservative”.

In his fight against Obamacare, Rubio was the one who made the risk- corridor insurer bailout an issue, which led to Congress enacting limits on how much taxpayer money insurers receive to cover their losses related to the newly insured. This is the only real hit that Obamacare has taken, and if it is ultimately replaced, Senator Rubio will have played a huge role in its dissolution.

Some conservative pundits and some of Rubio’s opponents like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul call him a “moderate”, presumably because of his participation in the so-called “gang of eight”, the bipartisan group that worked on immigration legislation three years ago. It was composed of eight senators, 4 Democrats and 4 Republican’s, of which Senator Rubio was one. Contrary to the media hype, this was not “amnesty”. In fact, it was a stricter bill than the one that passed in 1986, under President Reagan. As Senator Rubio said, we already have de facto amnesty right now, where 11 million illegal immigrants are here and we have no idea who they are or where they are.

President Obama vowed from the beginning of his presidency to take action on immigration. His action would have resulted in the legalization of all these immigrants. Any legislation that achieved anything short of that would be an improvement. Senator Rubio attempted to work together with the Democrats to come up with a plan that would improve the current situation, because he knew that under President Obama, real comprehensive immigration reform would never pass. Although their bipartisan bill passed in the Senate, it did not pass the House. Later, Senator Rubio said, “The point is that at this time, the only approach that has a realistic chance of success is to focus on those aspects of reform on which there is consensus through a series of individual bills.”

We send our congressional representatives to Washington to get things done, not to wring their hands because they refuse to cooperate with Democrats. I am conservative, and I would love for every piece of legislation to reflect conservative values, but it is not going to happen. We are a two party system, and for pundits to refer to the term “bipartisan” as a dirty word, is ridiculous. It seems there is no pleasing them. They want action in Washington because they are tired of stalemates, but they want it to be 100 percent in the interests of the GOP. Well, guess what? It doesn’t work that way. It never has and it never will. We may get 80/20, or 70/30, or maybe just 50/50, or even worse sometimes. One thing is certain though, if we do not work together with the Democrats, and throw them an occasional bone, we will not get anything, except another executive action from President Obama.

We desperately need a president who will work with both sides of the aisle to advance legislation. Our GOP candidate must be someone who has the personality to unite, rather than divide. Senator Rubio has worked with both parties in the Senate, and as the former Speaker of the House in Florida, he has valuable experience in passing legislation.150410_MarcoRubio_ImWithMarco_FBLink

His popularity among his colleagues is evidenced by his endorsements from Senators Trey Gowdy, Cory Gardner, Jason Chaffetz, Darrell Issa, and Jim Inhofe, just to name a few. According to the “Endorsement Primary”, Senator Rubio is at 43 points, second to Jeb Bush, who is at 46 points. (With Jeb Bush’s low primary poll numbers, I imagine those endorsements will go to Rubio as well) The formula they use to rank candidate endorsements is 1 point for each representative, 5 points for each senator, and 10 points for each Governor. To put this into perspective, Governor Chris Christie comes in third with 26, and Ted Cruz is seventh with 13.

Every voter needs to come to their own conclusion on which candidate they will support, but I would suggest conducting your own research into their backgrounds, rather than depend on the opinion of the media. They usually have their own agenda. I would add that if the immigration issue makes you skittish on Marco Rubio, you might look up his plan on his Senate website at www.rubio.senate.gov   

May the best man win!

Sources:

Bycoffe, Aaron. “FiveThirtyEight.” The Endorsement Primary. N.p., 11 Jan. 2016. Web. 11 Jan. 2016.

Geraghty, Jim. “Marco Rubio is Plenty Conservative.” The National Review, n.d. Web.

 

Let’s Not Repeat History

Two similar coTrump Fingermments about “history” have stayed with me over the years. One is something my mother often says, although it is not original to her, “History has a way of repeating itself”. The other was a favorite of one of my high-school history teachers, “Whoever doesn’t know history, is doomed to repeat it”, from Edmund Burke and George Santayana. Both are applicable to my concern about our country and the current election cycle.

World War I ended with Germany’s surrender in November 1918, and formally with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919. In the aftermath, Germany was in chaos. The war reparations imposed on them by the treaty, hyperinflation and massive unemployment led to economic instability, wiping out most of the personal savings of the middle class. The destruction and catastrophic loss of life they suffered during the war created a culture of despair, and ultimately led to social unrest among the German citizens. They felt betrayed by their government, a loss of pride in their country, and as an object of scorn and derision on the world stage.

They were disillusioned with their national politics, and distrustful of their political leaders and government. With the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, they were fearful of the potential for a communist takeover. They craved authoritarian leadership. The German nationalist “Right” movement promised to revise the Treaty of Versailles through force, if necessary. They would restore Germany to its former greatness, and their thinking became acceptable in the most respectable circles. The German citizens found their voice in a “radical right-wing” leader named Adolf Hitler.

If you have not seen a parallel yet, between this period of history and our own, I will help you out. Like the Germans almost a century ago, Americans are running scared, like rats from a sinking ship. Our country is at one of the lowest points in our history. Seven years of Barack Obama’s leadership, or lack thereof, has left us economically, militarily, morally and spiritually weak. Now, finally and thankfully, his time is almost up. We are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and election 2016 is on the horizon. Of course, the downside is desperate people in desperate circMake America Great Againumstances do not normally make the best decisions.

Enter Donald Trump, a new kind of leader who will “make America great again”. He appeals to the masses because he is a Washington outsider, and politically incorrect. He speaks his mind irrespective of what anyone thinks, or of whom he offends. He makes grandiose promises, and feeds off the anger of the American public. He is a demagogue. He has little knowledge of foreign policy, and much of what he says he will do as president is not possible, nor does it have any basis in reality, but that does not matter to the voters. As Dr. Charles Krauthammer said, “Trump has no answers but to say, trust in me, I’m successful”.

Now, I am not saying that Donald Trump is another Hitler. What I am saying is that Donald Trump is an extremist, and as radical in his own way as Barack Obama. Prior to our present political atmosphere, Trump’s vile comments, controversial background, and deficit of knowledge in world affairs would have made him an ineffective candidate for the presidency. His answer in the last debate about the “nuclear triad” would have brought ridicule to any other candidate, but not Trump. Apparently, there is not anything he can say or do to negatively affect his poll numbers, and that’s scary. The more vicious and insulting his attacks are, the more the voters support him. The more hateful his rhetoric, the more they cheer him on. They are angry; they want someone who will give a voice to their anger, and Donald Trump is their man.

The fact that Trump gets a pass, and is not held accountable for his actions or his dialogue, does not reflect well on America. Despite the support he receives from people like Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity of Fox News, he is not a conservative. I am a loyal viewer of Fox News, but I have to admit I am no longer finding them so “fair and balanced”, at least not when it comes to the GOP race. They give an inordinate amount of airtime to Donald Trump, and Bernard Goldberg seems to agree. Appearing on The O’Reilly Factor last evening, he said, “Donald Trump gets more air time on Fox than some of the anchors, which is a plus for him. He also has more than a few friends on Fox and some of them interview him as if they were interviewing a friend.” Of course, having Trump on your program translates to higher ratings.

What puzzles me is why so many at FNC, who really know politics, are backing someone with no political experience, and no legitimate plan of action. I understand the whole appeal of an “outsider”; someone who does not play the political games, but let’s not cut off our nose to spite our face. Let’s not, in our frenzy to undo the damage of this administration, elect someone who is as divisive as Barack Obama. This is the time to unite the country, not to further divide it. Like it or not, we are Republicans and Democrats, and we have to elect someone who can work with both parties to pass viable legislation that can promote recovery in America.

President Reagan was a master at negotiation and compromise. In his autobiography, An American Life, he said, “In Sacramento, (as Governor) I learned through experience that it was important to develop an effective working relationship with my opponents in the legislature, our political disagreements notwithstanding.” He achieved great things during his presidency because he worked with the Democrats, not against them. He knew he would not always get 100 percent of what he wanted, because that is the nature of the beast. He also knew that to gain anything, it was to his advantage to form a rapport with his opponents in Congress.

We have already experienced the way things work with a president who refuses to meet his opponents halfway. Nothing gets done, except of course, by executive action. Donald Trump is used to getting his way, and he is intolerant of anyone who disagrees with him. He only wants the deals that work for him, and that is not always a realistic expectation in Washington. A polarizing personality is not what America needs right now. Voters need to take a step back, reassess the situation, and, to borrow a phrase from Hillary Clinton, “hit the reset button”, and rethink the GOP field. We need to choose a candidate who can work and play well with others. Our future depends on it.