I Don’t Trust Trump

Trump Triad

 

A Thick Skin Is A Gift From God” (Konrad Adenauer)

One of my very best friends made a comment to me a few years ago, that I have since found to be true for myself as well. She said that once she hit fifty, she discovered she no longer cared as much about what other people thought of her, or said about her. Like me, up until that time, she tended to be a people-pleaser, and concerned about the opinion of others. I’m long past fifty, and it’s a good thing I’ve developed a thicker skin, because I really got trashed on Twitter!

That seems to be happening more and more, as I proffer my political opinions, but I just tune out the haters. I am always open to hearing different views, and I respect everyone’s right to disagree with me or anyone else; that is one of the blessings of living in the United States. I do think that people can get their point across without personal attacks or being discourteous.

My Twitter assault was the result of my opining to Eric Bolling, of Fox News, that I hoped he was wrong about his statement that he believes Donald Trump will be the GOP nominee in 2016. I have noticed that many of the Fox News anchors and commentators seem to be heavily in the Donald camp, which surprises me, knowing as much as they do about politics. I know that Ann Coulter, author and political contributor, has been for Trump all along, so that is nothing new. Since Trump’s call to “ban Muslims” from the United States, it seems that more at FNC are joining her in their support. In my opinion, Trump is not our best choice. I just don’t trust the man.

I eschew Donald Trump for multiple reasons, not the least of which I find his personal and petty comments about the other candidates to be unbecoming someone who is seeking the highest office in the country. I understand that he appeals to many people because they are angry with the leadership in Washington, or lack thereof, and with the politically correct climate that has run amok. His willingness to say aloud what most of us are secretly thinking is refreshing to people who are more than ready to vent their frustrations. I understand all that completely, and I am every bit as angry over the conditions in our country.

I have commented on Twitter that I do not think Donald Trump is “presidential”. I’m challenged with, “do I think Obama is”. The answer to that question is an unequivocal “no”, not even a little bit, but I am not drawing comparisons. I think President Obama is a complete and utter failure. When I voice my opinion on Donald Trump, it is purely on his merits. I am not juxtaposing him against other candidates, or against presidents. I think our job as responsible voters is to educate ourselves about each candidate, and support the one we feel comes closest to our ideal, with the full knowledge that there are no perfect candidates.

I have studied the GOP field, and I have decided whom I feel comfortable supporting. Rather than just listen to the pundits, or read the headlines, I would suggest that each voter do their own research on the candidates. The media tends to spin the stories to highlight their favorites. Whether “my” candidate wins the nomination or not, I will support and vote for the eventual nominee, because I believe that preventing Hillary Clinton access to the White House is in the best interest of the country.

This brings me to another of my objections to Donald Trump. During the first debate, he was the only candidate who refused to pledge his support to the eventual GOP nominee, and refused to rule out a third party run. That turned me off right away. That is almost like, but even worse, than saying if my favorite candidate does not win the nomination, I am going to vote for Hillary, or I am not going to vote at all. It is an immature attitude, and it is not in the best interest of the country. Trump later signed a pledge of support to the GOP, but with the caveat that “he must be treated fairly”. He uses that phrase a lot. Mr. Trump needs to realize that politics is not for the fainthearted, and it is certainly not fair.

The pledge that Trump signed is not legally binding, so he can renege at any time. On the O’Reilly Factor this past week, when Bill asked him specifically if he would run as an Independent, knowing that he would hand the election to Hillary Clinton, Trump replied again, “If I’m not treated fairly”. If Donald Trump does run as an Independent, we will have the 1992 election and Ross Perot all over again. On last night’s GOP debate, Trump asserted that he is definitely with the GOP, and will not run as an independent. So, which way is it going to be? He continues to flip-flop on this issue, and that kind of recklessness demonstrates how much Trump cares about “making America great again”. I think this whole enterprise is more about Trump than it is about America.

As far as Trump’s readiness to be President, he is obviously knowledgeable about business. I am sure he will have great ideas about creating jobs and improving the economy, and those are important attributes. The deficit, the nightmare of Obamacare, and the high unemployment rate are real concerns for all of us. Trump’s comfort zone is the business world, and I have no doubt that he would be a formidable negotiator.

At this time, I think our most pressing concerns are geopolitical, and I do not believe that is Trump’s strength. Terrorism, Immigration, a nuclear Iran, Russia’s agenda, these are issues that require a knowledge of foreign policy that Trump has not demonstrated. The debates are telling. In the earlier debates, it was obvious that when the moderators introduced the topic of foreign relations, and the discussion between the candidates became more complex, Trump would hang back.

In last night’s debate, when questioned on his priority regarding the nuclear triad, it was clear he was not familiar with the term, or its meaning. He has said of himself that he is the “best on military” of any of the GOP candidates, but that does not appear to be the case. I am not belittling him; this is just not his area of expertise. United States foreign policy and military capabilities have not been in his sphere before now. This is a science within itself, it is nuanced, and it is not something you can pick up in a few months. We have seen an example of this up close and personal over the last seven years.

I also think Trump would struggle in a debate against Hillary Clinton on foreign policy. I do not like Hillary at all. I think she is immoral, and I disagree with every word she says. She was a dismal failure as a secretary of state. However, she has been involved in politics a long time, and she knows (at least in theory) about foreign relations, the governments, the leaders, the procedures, and that is to her advantage. Donald Trump will do an admirable job of attacking her on the stage, he certainly has plenty of material to work with, but Hillary is calculating and I think she will wipe the floor with him.

When Mitt Romney ran in 2012, he was an experienced politician, and he was well versed in foreign policy. In their last debate, President Obama managed to make him look like he was completely out of touch with the world scene and it helped Obama win reelection. Of course, we now know Romney was correct when he asserted that Russia presented a great threat to the United States.

I am in the process of reading James Rosen’s book, “Cheney One on One”, and Vice President Cheney talks about how badly President Obama has weakened us militarily. He says, “What has happened to the military in terms of morale, in terms of financing, budget, and so forth is just devastating….the way Obama is functioning now, he’s crippling the capacity of future presidents to deal with future crises. It takes a long time to build up that military force”. Regaining our foothold in defense, our position as a world leader, as well as our standing among our allies, will be a tall order for the next president. I do not think that in our country’s present state, we need to put someone in office that has no experience in government, or a depth of knowledge in foreign relations and military operations.

I think Donald Trump is a demagogue, but he has found a niche with the voters who are fearful for our country, and who see his bombast as strength and his empty rhetoric as leadership. I don’t think our best decisions are made from a place of fear and desperation. Glenn Beck mentioned last week on the Kelly File, that he made a prediction a few years ago that the country would fall into such a deplorable state, that the environment would be ripe for a progressive of either side to come in and captivate the voters. That is exactly what Donald Trump has done. Beck likened it to Germany, and the period of time when the German people were desperate for leadership, and they united behind Hitler.

Let me emphasize that Beck made it perfectly clear he was not calling Donald Trump “Hitler”; he was analogizing the climate that we have in our country right now with pre-World War II Germany. People are afraid, and they know they cannot trust President Obama, or his minion, Hillary Clinton. They know the country is on a downward spiral, and they crave leadership from someone who speaks to their fear. Donald Trump fills this need. He is addressing the anger, calling out the culprits, and promising grandiose changes.

To me, Trump is a lot of talk. He says that we are going to deport all 11 million illegal immigrants, ban Muslims, and build a wall that Mexico is going to pay for, but he never offers a plan as to how he is going to accomplish these things. He just keeps saying, “We just have to do it, we’ll just do it”. Well, anyone can that, anyone can make all the campaign promises they want and tell the voters everything they want to hear, but what matters is whether they can deliver on it. They have to have a plan, and they have to work within the system. Trump is used to his way or the highway, but it does not work that way in a democracy.

Last week on Hannity, media consultant, Frank Luntz, conducted a focus group on Trump. He remarked to Sean Hannity that in his twenty years of experience, he has never seen anything like the Trump phenomenon. He said no matter what videos he played of Donald Trump, even his worst attacks on other candidates, (Marco Rubio sweats more than any young person I’ve ever seen, Ben Carson is pathological, Carly Fiorina talks like a robot, and look at that face!) the participants just laughed along with Donald. They cheered him on. When Luntz played the attack ads against Donald, they just made them like him even more.

It appears that Trump cannot lose with the voters, no matter what he says or does. I don’t find this to be a particularly good thing. To me, that is not America as its best. There should exist among civilized people, a level at which a person’s behavior is no longer acceptable. It should most definitely exist among presidential candidates.

Trump’s antics in going after the other candidates are childish. He has attacked every candidate, but it is rarely substantive. He sent a case of water bottles with his picture on them along with some “Make America Great Again” towels to Senator Rubio with a note attached that read, “Since you’re always sweating, we thought you could use some water”. That is a juvenile stunt, and it has no place in a serious campaign.

It is one thing to take your fellow candidates to task over the issues and their platform, but it is quite another to make it purely personal. Trump also jokes about Senator Rubio’s finances by saying, “He’s got $12 in the bank, he borrows, he works with his car dealer in Florida, give me a break, Rubio is not the guy that’s gonna be negotiating with the kind of people you have to negotiate with to turn this country around.” That is just uncalled for, and I think that when the American people have no expectations for their candidate’s character, we are hitting bottom.

This political cycle reminds me somewhat of the 2008 election cycle that brought us Barack Obama. People were tired of war, they were tired of hearing about the terrorists, the economy was dismal, and they wanted a change. They wanted the antithesis of George W. Bush, and they ultimately found it. They did not cringe over the name Barack Hussein Obama, and they had no problem with his heritage, or that he attended the church of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, or that he was associated with Bill Ayers. He was a new face, he said the right things, and that is all that mattered at the time. Incidentally, Trump supported Obama in 2008, referring to himself as “his biggest cheerleader”.

He has since admitted that was a mistake, but Trump vacillates in his support of politicians, with most of his past campaign contributions going to Democrats. Notable recipients are Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton, the latter on multiple occasions, including donations to the Clinton Foundation. He was also a registered Democrat, and he said even a couple of years ago that he most closely identified with the Democratic Party. His position on issues like abortion, gun control, and drug legalization fluctuate as well. Although most people seem to favor him because of his hard line on immigration, he said this in Newsmax after the 2012 election,

The Republican Party will continue to lose presidential elections if it comes across as mean-spirited and unwelcoming toward people of color. Whether intended or not, comments and policies of Mitt Romney and other Republican candidates during this election were seen by Hispanics and Asians as hostile to them….Romney’s solution of “self deportation” for illegal aliens made no sense and suggested that Republicans do not care about Hispanics in general…. He had a crazy policy of self deportation which was maniacal. It sounded as bad as it was, and he lost all of the Latino vote. He lost the Asian vote. He lost everybody who is inspired to come into this country. The Democrats didn’t have a policy for dealing with illegal immigrants, but what they did have going for them is they weren’t mean-spirited about it. They didn’t know what the policy was, but what they were is they were kind.”

That sounds a lot different from the Donald Trump we see today. Again, every voter will need to make their own decision on which candidate they choose to support. I want a President I can trust and respect, and who handles themselves in a calm and mature manner. I want someone who knows and understands the issues, and whom I think can work with both sides of the aisle in Washington. That is the only way we will get anything accomplished.

 

 

Kessler, Ronad. “Donald Trump: Mean-Spirited GOP Won’t Win Elections.” Newsmax. N.p., 26 Nov. 2012. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.

Cheney, Richard B., and James Rosen. Cheney One on One: A Candid Conversation with America’s Most Controversial Statesman. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

Not a Cruz Fan

Ted CruzANY of the current GOP candidates will be an excellent replacement for Barack Obama. On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, I will be a blur of black SUV as I race to cast my vote for the Republican nominee. However, that day is still 11 months away, and the Republican National Convention is scheduled for July 18-21, so that gives me about eight months to peruse the field.

The first primary, New Hampshire, will be on February 9, and the outcome of that will seal the fate of some of the contenders, which will narrow the field. If the current trends continue, Trump, Rubio, Cruz and Carson will probably be among those that will stay around for awhile. Polls vary, of course, but of late, Senator Cruz appears to be surging in Iowa. This has been the media buzz, and has garnered more attention for Cruz this last week. The Iowa Caucus is the first test for a Presidential candidate. It precedes the New Hampshire primary, but unlike a primary, it is not a secret ballot election. A caucus is more like a gathering of members of a political party who meet and debate the merits of the candidates, and select the one they will support, usually by a show of hands. Only thirteen states use the caucus system.

It is said that no candidate has won the nomination without finishing in at least third place in the Iowa caucus, hence the importance. Romney came in second in the Iowa caucus of 2012, with Rick Santorum coming in first. Obviously, winning the caucus did not give Santorum the GOP nomination, so winning is not indicative of a candidate’s ultimate outcome. Even if Ted Cruz prevails in Iowa, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s headed to the White House. That makes me feel better, because personally, I am not a fan. It isn’t that I don’t agree with a lot of what Cruz says, I do. He is very conservative, which I like, although I do not agree with his vote on the USA Freedom act.

To me, Cruz comes across as contrived. I feel like I am listening to a sermon every time he talks, and he talks too much and too long. I’ve noticed in interviews, that the host of the program usually has to spur Senator Cruz along just to get on to their next question. His answers are endless, and they are like campaign speeches. This may seem trivial, but it bothers me. I want a clear, concise answer to a question, and he bloviates.

He is a very intelligent man, and an experienced debater, which is why he has done so well in the GOP debates; they’re a comfortable venue for him. He manages to make some good points, and to come across with some good one-liners, but he still seems like he is preaching, and like his main focus is on his delivery. It’s almost like it’s a theatrical performance. I just don’t get a good vibe from him. He ranks up there with Kasich and Paul, in the group of candidates I can hardly stand to watch.

Ted Cruz relishes his reputation as a rebel of sorts. Apparently, the number of Republican Senators and Congressman that don’t like him, continues to grow. Cruz blames it on the fact that he is not a member of “their club”. They say that he backstabs for his own political gain, and that he is a grandstander. Cruz wears his unpopularity like a badge of honor, and prides himself on how much time he spends in the Senate fighting with both parties. I don’t see that Ted Cruz has really accomplished anything during his time in the Senate. He has spent most of it being divisive, and playing up to the passions of the public in an effort to be the poster child of conservatism. At the end of the day, you do have to learn to work with people. We send people to Washington to get things done, and that usually means some negotiation with the other side. Ted Cruz does not seem to be much of a negotiator, which doesn’t bode well for a presidential candidate.

Even my hero, Ronald Reagan, knew you had to work across the aisle. He made hours of phone calls on a regular basis to Senate and House members on both sides trying to pass legislation. He fought hard to get what he wanted, but he was realistic enough to know that would not be 100 percent, 100 percent of the time.

I just think when the majority of your own political party doesn’t like you, there must be something to it. I have learned over the years that things work better for me when I trust my gut instincts, and my gut instincts tell me that Cruz is not our man. In the words of President George W. Bush regarding Ted Cruz, “I just don’t like the guy”.

 

Will Donald Throw Us Under the Bus?

The donald

Donald Trump got off to a controversial start in the first GOP debate back in August, by refusing to commit his support to the eventual Republican nominee and not run as a third party candidate. Brett Bair, of Fox News, opened the debate by asking the candidates for a show of hands, and Trump was the only one to raise his in opposition. It took a lot of chutzpah to stand alone at a RNC sponsored debate, amid other Republican contenders, and in front of a Republican audience and basically say that if they don’t give you the party’s nomination, you’re going rogue; not exactly sportsman-like conduct.

On September 3, after a personal appeal from RNC chair Reince Preibus, Trump signed a pledge that states, “I will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is,” and “I will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate nor will I seek or accept the nomination for president of any other party.”  Trump said of the pledge, “All I want is to be treated fairly”. Is that a caveat? All the other Republican nominees signed the same pledge, but they argued that getting Donald Trump to sign it is not a real win for the GOP. There are no legal ramifications should he decide to opt out, and it also allows him to get his name listed on all the Republican primary ballots.

Will he prove to be a turncoat? I don’t know, but I don’t trust Donald Trump. I think he sincerely believes that he can help move the country in the right direction, and I don’t doubt his patriotism, but he’s all about Donald, and all about winning, and I think he’ll do whatever is necessary to snag his prize. Yesterday, on ABC’s “This Week”, in a discussion about Republicans trying to derail his campaign, and if he would consider running as an Independent, he said, “I’m going to have to see what happens. I will see what happens. I have to be treated fairly” There is that word again, “fairly”. I have a feeling that Donald Trump defines “fairly” as getting what he wants.

If he does abandon the party, and make a bid as a third party candidate, we may have 1992 all over again. George H.W. Bush was the Republican nominee, Bill Clinton the Democrat, and Ross Perot ran as an Independent, garnering 19 percent of the vote. There is serious debate as to whether Perot actually cost Bush the election, but he certainly didn’t help him any. Some pundits say that most of Perot’s votes would have gone to Clinton anyway, but there is no real way of knowing whether that is true. Regardless, if Trump deserts his party in their time of need, then this election is not really about the country; it’s about Donald Trump.

He Just Doesn’t Get It

RObamaobert Spencer, author and purveyor of the blog Jihad Watch, and Qasim Rashid, a human rights activist, and advocate of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, appeared on the Sean Hannity show Wednesday evening. Sean interviewed them about their position on Syrian refugees coming to the United States.

Robert Spencer, who writes about the jihad theology and ideology, is totally opposed to the notion of opening our borders to these refugees. He pointed out that ISIS has already announced that they have been able to send thousands of covert ISIS gunmen into Europe disguised as refugees, and that they intend to infiltrate the refugee movement into the United States as well. How much clearer do they have to be in order for us to realize that this is a really bad idea?

President Obama spoke derisively of Republicans from the G20 Summit in Turkey, for proposing that we screen the refugees based on religion, and give preference to Christians. In a very un-presidential attack, he said the GOP was “hysterical”. During the Hannity interview, Spencer responded to this by saying, “Muslims might blow us up, Christians won’t”. President Obama also referred to Republicans as being “afraid of widows and 3 -year-old orphans”. He just cannot seem to grasp the concept that we are in real danger here. The night before the Paris attacks, he claimed that we were doing a great job of containing ISIS, and after the attacks, he referred to them as a “setback”. He is an impotent leader.

Hannity also asked Rashid about his thoughts on the refugee situation, and of course he replied that the United States should welcome all the refugees. Hannity then asked if he thought this might be a risk to American lives, and his response was that not taking them would be a risk to American dignity. That didn’t sit very well with Sean Hannity, and it doesn’t sit well with me either. As far as I’m concerned, the value of American lives trumps the court of world opinion.

Yesterday, five Syrians using stolen Greek passports were attempting to enter the United States, via Honduras, but were arrested by Honduran officials in Tegucigalpa. ISIS has now put out a new video showing images of Times Square in New York City, and threatening another attack “far worse and more bitter” than Paris. New York authorities are taking the video seriously, but reported last evening they have no reason to believe there is any imminent threat. I hope they are right. They said they will continue to be vigilant in their security precautions.

As Speaker Paul Ryan has pointed out, this is not a bi-partisan issue. This affects all Americans, not just Republicans, and all of us should band together to come up with a solution that is in the best interest of the country. Speaker Ryan said that Congress will vote today on a bill to delay the refugee influx until a better vetting process can be put in place. Of course, President Obama has already announced that he will veto the bill. He is concerned that it will produce significant delays in accepting the refugees because “their” lives are at stake, and because he thinks it is “critically important to our partners in the Middle East” that we take a leadership role. I don’t know what partners he has reference to…Syria? Iran? Iraq? He is beyond stupid. That’s a disrespectful comment to make about a POTUS, but he hasn’t done anything in the last seven years to earn my respect.

You know who I do respect? Richard Nixon. I am a huge Nixon fan, but that’s another story. Say what you will about Watergate, and I know he handled it badly, but he never put the security of our country in jeopardy. As Pat Buchanan, one of his closest aides said in his recent book, “The Greatest Comeback”, if Watergate had not happened, Richard Nixon would go down in history as one of our great presidents. Nixon was a foreign policy genius, and unlike Obama, he had the respect of all the leaders on the world stage, including China, which he visited in 1972, the first POTUS to do so. Despite the humiliation of being the only president to ever resign the office, and the isolation he endured afterwards, he managed to be as relevant on the world scene post-presidency as he was during his 30 years in elected office. He authored 10 books, most on geopolitics, and they have proven prophetic, especially about the situation in the Middle East. He also traveled extensively, maintaining diplomatic relations with heads of state, and advising his successors on foreign policy. That is pretty impressive; a lot more impressive than what I see in Washington right now.

Nixon comes to mind, because I marvel at the irony of this situation. The Democrats spearheaded a process that forced President Nixon to either resign, or be impeached, for his part in covering up a break-in at the DNC that didn’t amount to anything, and that he had no prior knowledge of. And yet, we keep a president in office who has weakened our country, destroyed our health care system, misled us on Benghazi, put us at serious security risk, and who is more concerned with the welfare of Muslims than with the citizens he was elected to lead and protect.

Jimmy Carter owes a debt of gratitude to Barack Obama. Carter will no longer go down in history as our worst president.

 

 

 

Let’s Err on the side of Caution!

The attacks in Paris last Friday evening were tragic, and my prayers are with everyone who was affected by them. At least one of the perpetrators of this heinous act posed as a Syrian refugee, and two others have been implicated in masterminding the attack.

Speaking from the Philippines yesterday, President Obama criticized Republicans for saying the Syrian refugees pose a security risk to the United States. In the condescending and sophomoric manner he reserves for the GOP, he said, “Apparently they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America. At first, they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of 3-year-old orphans. That doesn’t seem so tough to me.” This comment is so ludicrous, that it is embarrassing to think that our commander in chief would reduce himself to making it.

This has nothing to do with being “tough”, and everything to do with being cautious with the security of our country. There is simply no way to screen each and every one of these people, and therefore, no way to be sure that they are in fact here for the sole purpose of seeking refuge. Interestingly enough, it doesn’t appear that any of these people are bound for Washington, D. C.

To open our borders to these people at this point in time is madness. Historically, the United States has welcomed scores of refugees, including several hundred thousand who fled Vietnam in the 1970’s and 1980’s, so this is not about refusing to help people in need, this is about being prudent and recognizing the threat of terrorism in our world today.

The President’s number one responsibility is to preserve and protect the Constitution, and therefore the nation. ISIS poses a real threat to our country, and their intentions are plain. Instead of worrying about his image as a Nobel Peace Prize winner, (which still boggles my mind) he needs think about what he was elected to do, and do it.

A Little Backbone Please!

Reagan

One of the most essential qualities in the Republican presidential nominee for the 2016 election will be a backbone. That and a little knowledge of foreign policy would be nice. With the unrest in the Middle East, the tragic events that occurred in Paris last Friday evening, and the ongoing threat of ISIS, it should be apparent to everyone that our national security is of critical importance at this time.

Under President Obama, we have seen a regress in the image that we project to our allies and our adversaries alike; no one believes in us anymore; we do not stand for anything anymore. Our allies, like Israel, cannot trust us to have their back, and our enemies do not fear repercussion from us. Not a great combination.

To really understand the effect of a strong commander in chief, we can look back at one of the greatest, President Reagan. In 1979, during Jimmy Carter’s presidency, Islamic revolutionaries kidnapped sixty Americans from the United States embassy in Tehran. They held them hostage for 444 days, releasing them minutes after Ronald Reagan took the oath of office as the 40th President of the United States. Reagan’s intention to strengthen our military, his belief in American exceptionalism, his conviction of peace through strength, and his utter contempt for totalitarianism in all its forms, put the world on notice.

Reagan’s mental toughness and negotiation skills faced their first big challenge in the spring of 1981. Still recovering from the assassination attempt, President Reagan was notified of PATCO’s  (Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization) intention to see a 100 percent pay increase or go on strike, effectively grounding all commercial flights and even more importantly, posing a national security threat to the country by leaving the AWACS planes that patrolled our air space unable to fly. Reagan was a union man himself, and he was sympathetic to their desire for a pay increase commensurate with the increased pressures of their job. In addition, PATCO was one of the few unions that had supported Reagan’s candidacy, so he tried to negotiate a more reasonable settlement with them, but to no avail. It is illegal for a federal employee to go on strike, and each member of PATCO signed an affidavit stating they would not strike, and yet seventy percent of them still walked off the job. Reagan refused to accept it. Appearing in the Rose Garden, he announced to the press that if the strikers did not return to work within 48 hours, they would be fired, and they would not be rehired. The union thought he was bluffing.

The story had international implications, and everyone was watching, including the Russians. Britain backed President Reagan, France pressured him to make a deal, and Canada shut down Gander airport in a show of solidarity with the strikers. Reagan sent word to them through his transportation secretary Drew Lewis that if they did not reopen the airport within two hours, the U S would never land there again. They reopened.

After putting together a temporary air control system using a combination of the controllers who remained on the job, the FAA and the Defense department, Reagan stood his ground. After 48 hours, over 11,000 air traffic controllers lost their jobs. President Reagan was heartbroken over the effect it would have on the families, but he knew that no American president could tolerate an illegal strike. The world found out that Reagan’s toughness was not just empty rhetoric.

When Mu’ammar Qadhafi masterminded a 1986 bombing in Berlin, which resulted in the death of an American service member, and the injury of 63 others, Reagan ordered air strikes on key Libyan targets. He later addressed the nation, saying, “When our citizens are abused or attacked anywhere in this world… we will respond so long as I’m in this Oval Office,” and to terrorist leaders around the world he said, “He [Qadhafi] counted on America to be passive.  He counted wrong” (Reagan, “Speaking” 288).  With that speech, Reagan imposed his views upon the world and he let the country know that he would not succumb to any foreign national threat.

Fast forward to 2012, when President Obama said this about the use of chemical weapons by Syria, “We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region that that’s a red line for us and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons. That would change my calculations significantly.” Guess what? Bashar al-Assad has brazenly challenged President Obama’s red line with repeated attacks over the last few years, all without any action by the United States. Of course, Obama has backtracked on his “red-line” comment, saying it was not “his” red line, but the “world’s” red line.

A year and a half ago, Obama referred to ISIS as the “jayvee” team. At a time when they were more contained, and easier to eliminate, Obama downplayed them as a real threat. We all know how that has worked out, with ISIS controlling huge swaths of Syria and Iraq, and committing mass executions of Christians, or anyone else who does not support Islam. Of course, President Obama later claimed that he was not referring specifically to ISIS, but to random terrorist sects in the area, despite the fact that he was responding to a question about a terrorist group that had just taken over Fallujah, which was in fact ISIS.

After ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris this last Friday, France began air strikes in retaliation against them; at least France is taking a stand against evil. Our president cannot even utter the words “radical Islam”, or “Muslim terrorists”. The day before the attacks in Paris, Obama said in an interview with George Stephanopolous, that ISIS is not gaining strength, that we have “contained them”. I do not believe the citizens of France would agree with him.

The Immigration Issue

One of the top issues on voter’s minds going into the 2016 migrantsPresidential election is illegal immigration. Our fluid borders have resulted in a current population of approximately 11 million unauthorized immigrants, half of whom are from Mexico, and 60 percent of whom are located in Texas, Florida, California, New York, New Jersey and Illinois.

The Republican candidates differ in their approach to the resolution of the situation, with Donald Trump being the most outspoken on the subject. His plan is to build a wall to protect our southern borders, (which he says Mexico will pay for) and to deport these 11 million illegals, with the disclaimer that they can reenter the country again, legally. The media has vilified him for his harsh approach, and for the hateful rhetoric he has used to describe the Mexican illegals.

The other GOP candidates vary in their solution to the problem, but all of them concur that we need to secure our borders for the safety of our country. They are correct. We live in an age where there are too many people of various nationalities that wish to do us harm. Our current immigration problem is not just an economic issue; it is a threat to the security and future of the United States, as we know it. Just as we cannot enter Mexico, or any other sovereign country for that matter, illegally, and expect to be welcomed with open arms, we cannot throw open the floodgates to anyone and everyone who crosses the threshold of our country; it simply is not in the best interest of our national security, or the safety of our citizens.

On the other hand, we should not deceive ourselves into thinking that we can gather up 11 million men, women and children, and throw them on a bus and run them across the border. It would be an organizational nightmare, and would most likely result in heavy casualties. We also have to remember that these illegal immigrants make up about 5 percent of the labor force in this country, and that 7 percent of students in grades K-12, have at least one parent that is an unauthorized immigrant, so we are talking about economic repercussions and about destroying families. I know they are breaking the law, and that must be addressed, but we are complicit in them being here in the first place. If we had practiced due diligence in protecting our borders, we would not be dealing with this issue to the extent that we are.

I cannot begin to fathom the solution to this problem, or the most humane way of dealing with those who are currently residing in the United States illegally, many of whom are good people who just want a better life for themselves and their families. What I do know is we have a moral responsibility to put ourselves in the position of these people and ask ourselves what we might do if like them, we were unfortunate enough to be born in a country permeated with violence like Mexico, or other areas of Central and South America. How many of us would not seek every avenue to escape the constant threat of danger to our children that these people have lived under for years? We have to approach the solution with both prudence and compassion.

Frankly, there is no simple solution, and lest we forget, we are a country of immigrants. We are all descendants of people who were fleeing oppression. Jesus said, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” I do feel strongly that people who seek refuge in the United States must be prepared to learn English, and to pay taxes. If their desire is to become a citizen of this country, and thus entitled to all the freedoms and benefits that we enjoy, then they should also be willing to adhere to the laws that we have determined ensure a just society. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or leave the country.” I agree.

I am not personally convinced that building a wall is the answer, but then I am not familiar with the topography of our southern border, or with the logistics of constructing a 2000-mile barrier. I guess I am in favor of starting with a more simple approach like Ted Nugent’s idea of letting the Border Patrol “patrol the border” and the National Guard, “guard the nation”, but then maybe these are too simplistic. I just think that with all the technological advances in surveillance equipment, the intelligence information we have access to, and with over 20,000 border patrol agents we should be able to tighten the reins a bit.

The most important and most urgent action we have to take right now is to secure our border, in whatever manner is determined to be the most effective. We give a tremendous amount of foreign aid to Mexico every year; in 2013, we gave them over 51 million dollars. I think we should begin to deduct a minimum of $20,000 from that amount for every one of their citizens who enters the United States illegally; that should give them some incentive to help stem the flow.

We also have to develop a more efficient path to citizenship, one that does not take 15 or 20 years. We need to revamp the work visa program and green cards, or we need to issue some other type of temporary visa, and monitor the recipients with an entry and exit program. There are always going to be people who want to come to the United States, so this will be an ongoing issue, just as it always has been. We have to devise a way of running background checks, and documenting everyone who enters the country. Fifty years ago, we were sending men to the moon; surely, we have the ingenuity to repair our broken immigration system.

Fox Business GOP Debate Recap

RubioRubio Continues to Impress!

Last night, we saw the candidates in their fourth GOP debate of the 2016 election cycle. Sponsored by Fox Business and moderated by Neil Cavuto, Gerard Baker and Maria Bartiroma, the debate focused on the economy, and was more substantive than any of the previous debates. The candidates fielded questions on job creation, tax plans, immigration, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and a fair amount of foreign policy. This was the best debate so far, and the moderators asked excellent questions, but they definitely need to come up with a better way of monitoring the time situation…their bell just wasn’t getting the job done.

Going into the debate, the frontrunners were Donald Trump and Ben Carson, followed by Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush. Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, John Kasich all continue to hover around 2 percent in the polls. Overall, the climate was civil, with a little back and forth between Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, and Donald Trump and John Kasich. Donald Trump only threw one real insult, which he directed at his favorite target, Carly Fiorina. He complained to the moderators that she kept interrupting, although in reality, John Kasich was the real culprit there.

So, now to the important stuff…how did they perform? Here are my thoughts:

Trump was just mediocre. He did not have as much opportunity to speak as he normally does, and his lack of knowledge on foreign policy was painfully obvious. This is not surprising, and as the debates become more substantive, his weaknesses will become more noticeable. As a candidate, he lacks depth, so when the discussions become more complex, he tends to quiet down and hang back. His comfort zone is business, and he did make some good points, but I think he is naïve on immigration. I am very much in favor of securing the border, but the idea that we can just automatically deport 11 million people is unrealistic. I do think he has been good for the GOP, because he does shake things up and he is not afraid to go on the attack. I don’t think he hurt his numbers tonight, and his faithful followers will probably stay with him, but I don’t expect that this debate will give him a bump in his poll numbers.

Dr. Ben Carson, like Trump, was just okay. His most effective moment was when he deflected the criticism from the mainstream media over his West Point “scholarship”. He compared his vetting process, and the hard line taken against him, with the fact that Hillary Clinton gets a pass for lying about the events in Benghazi. That brought his best applause of the night, and he made a good point. For the most part, he seemed somewhat disconnected, and his response on the banking situation and on the Special Forces in Syria, didn’t make a lot of sense. As with Trump, I don’t think he hurt himself last night, but I don’t think he had a particularly strong showing.

John Kasich was just painful to watch! He was obnoxious with his constant interruptions, and his long-winded monologues. For a while, it seemed like the Kasich/Cruz hour, as they both dominated much of the latter part of the debate. When Kasich defended the idea of a banking bailout, he got boos from the audience, and according to Frank Luntz of Fox News, he received the lowest score ever recorded with Luntz’s focus group. He was too aggressive and argumentative, and I think his poll numbers will pay the price. I will be shocked if he isn’t relegated to the kiddie table in the next debate.

I’m sorry, I am sure he’s a very nice man, but Ted Cruz just really irritates me. His answers are endless; the man just loves to talk. Most of the pundits are saying he had a great night, and he definitely had more than his share of airtime. He has an extensive background in debate, so it’s not unusual for him to perform well. He had a few good applause lines, but he also had a Rick Perry moment when he was enumerating the five federal agencies he wants to eliminate in conjunction with his tax plan, and he could only name four of them. I think he probably won over some voters last night, and he will probably see a slight bump in his poll numbers, but I still don’t think he’ll overtake Rubio.

Carly Fiorina had a good night. She was more involved in the discussion than Trump or Carson, and she definitely knows her facts. She is extremely well spoken and knowledgeable, and she is comfortable debating both economics and foreign policy, which is especially impressive since she is an “outsider”. I don’t think her poll numbers will change a lot, and I don’t think she has enough personal appeal to win the nomination. She’s almost robotic, and like Cruz and Kasich, she is too long-winded. I do, however, think she would make a good vice-president.

Rand Paul just needs to throw in the towel. I still don’t see how he managed to be on the big stage last night, when Christie was demoted to the bottom tier. He went after Marco Rubio, who is his main competition right now, but I think it backfired on him. He likes to throw barbs at the other candidates, and I think it just makes him look petty. His poll numbers aren’t going to improve, so he’s on borrowed time.

Jeb Bush needed to have a great night, but he didn’t manage to pull it off. He was better than he was in the last debate, which really isn’t saying a whole lot. I just don’t think he’s comfortable in a debate setting. He seems to come across better in interviews or on the campaign trail. Debate performance really shouldn’t be the deciding factor when selecting a President; after all, Obama debated well, and you know the rest of that story. However, Jeb just seems to get a little confused at times, and he just looks awkward. I don’t think he helped himself last night, so his numbers will probably stay about the same.

Last, but certainly not least, Marco Rubio. In my humble opinion, he was the winner last night! He wasn’t quite as good as he was in the last debate, but I still think he came across very well. His answers are concise, and he has a way of discussing complex issues in a way that most anyone can understand. He made some great points about the importance of the family, and about education, and I thought he was particularly strong on foreign policy. He knows that we have to have a strong military, and he made Rand Paul look foolish for attacking him over military expenditures. I kept waiting for Marco to invoke President Reagan, because Reagan was both conservative and pro-defense spending, and that would have really shut Rand Paul down. I noticed on Twitter last night that as the debate was ending, one of the top political backers in the country tweeted to Rubio’s campaign, “I’m in”. I think we can expect to see Rubio move ahead in the polls. Go Marco!!

Election 2016: A Mandate on Morality

2015

I am predicting that we as a nation are going to see some great things in the 2016 Presidential election. Namely, a reversal in the decadent trend this One Nation under God, has been following since the election of Barack Obama in 2008.

The good news started this past Tuesday, when the Election Day map showed most of the United States a very patriotic shade of red. With the state of Kentucky electing a Republican Governor for the first time in more than forty years, the GOP now holds 32 out of 50 governorships. Democrats failed to take over the senate in the state of Virginia, which means that Republicans continue to have control of 30 of the 50 state legislatures. These gains are historic. We have a trifecta in 24 states, where Republicans control the house, the senate, and the governorship. What this means in real terms is that the GOP is alive and well, and at the state and local level, much stronger than its Democratic counterpart.

Over the long haul, these advances will prove as valuable to the Republican Party as having a majority in the U. S. House and Senate. In the political arena, the grassroots level is where it’s at. Most federal policy originates within the individual states; they are the laboratories where the political parties experiment with potential legislation. With the Republicans in the majority, they will be very influential in creating future federal policy that will move us back in the right direction.

In addition, most of the politicians we see on the national stage made their debut at the state level. With more Republicans serving in these positions, the GOP will have an abundance of political talent to draw from in future elections. We can already see this in action in the current presidential race. After the last few election cycles, the Democratic Party has little depth when it comes to potential candidates for the top job. You know they are scraping the bottom of the barrel when the best they have to offer is either a confirmed socialist, or a proven liar currently under FBI investigation. They just have no talent on the bench.

President Obama has been a lousy commander-in-chief, but he has proven to be an outstanding campaigner, at least for the Republican Party, which has made great gains under his administration. A tweet by Republican operative, Rory Cooper said it succinctly, “Under President Obama, Democrats have lost 900+ state legislature seats, 12 governors, 69 House seats, 13 Senate seats. That’s some legacy.”

There is a message here; Americans are not happy with the powers that be, and they are not happy with the trajectory of the country. Oh, we still have the kooks and the degenerates among us, who are comfortable with immorality and perversion, and who are more interested in a free ride than a free country. However, the “silent majority” that President Nixon spoke to in 1969 are now expressing themselves at the polls, which is the most efficient way to voice their opinion in a just and democratic society.

Jeb is Getting Desperate

Jeb Bush

I think Jeb Bush is probably a very good man, he’s just not a very good presidential candidate. His campaign is absolutely floundering, and it will take more than his new slogan, “Jeb can fix it”, to fix it.

I’m really kind of surprised that he has not performed better in the 2016 race. Although I didn’t know a lot about him prior to his candidacy, and I was “iffy” as to whether his last name would prove a blessing or a curse, I still thought that with his background, he would prove to be a formidable candidate. He has not.

He just doesn’t have it. He lacks confidence, he lacks conviction, and I don’t think he has a strong enough message to make a case for why he’s our best chance to win in 2016. He seems uncomfortable and ill at ease during the debates, so Hillary would wipe the floor with him.

I believe that most Americans respect and admire the Bush family, but I think that two Bush presidency’s is enough for most. Jeb is fighting the ghost of his brother’s eight years in office, and while I don’t think it’s fair to judge him based on his brother’s policies, that’s just the nature of the beast.

I personally like George W. Bush, and I think he was a good president. He had a tremendous amount to deal with during his two terms, more than most other presidents, and I think he genuinely tried to do his best for the country. I know I felt much safer when he was in office. He was sincere and authentic, and he inspired my confidence. Jeb does not.

His dismal performance at last week’s debate, and his desperate attempt to undermine Marco Rubio was another nail in the coffin of his bid for the White House. I don’t think the Bush family will be setting any records for the most family members to serve as POTUS, and I really think that at this point, Jeb is just wasting his time and other people’s money.

I don’t think he’ll give up easily though; he doesn’t want to give Donald Trump the satisfaction of forcing him out. He’ll stay in until someone he esteems convinces him to stop the bleeding, or until his supporters tighten their purse strings. Sorry Jeb….it’s just not happening for ya!