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.

 

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”.

 

Rubio and The Immigration Issue

MostRubio of the negative feedback I see about Senator Marco Rubio is regarding his stand on illegal immigration. Many voters think he is too soft on the issue; they want someone tough, like Donald Trump. I am not speaking here about the Syrian refugees; I consider that a separate issue. I am speaking about the 11 million immigrants already in our country, half of whom are from Mexico. I grew up less than 2 hours from the Mexican border, so I am familiar with the concept, and I agree that it is one of our most pressing issues. Our top priority is to secure the border. Unless and until we achieve that, the rest is an exercise in futility.

I wonder how many voters have actually read Marco Rubio’s plan for immigration reform. I personally think he has a viable plan. It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot more realistic than Trump’s rhetoric about deporting all 11 million illegals currently in the United States. Does anyone really think that is likely to happen? It would be a logistical nightmare. You can’t just load them up and bus them to the border. Some of these people are elderly, some are children, and some have lived here for many years and are actually law abiding, job holding individuals. Illegal immigrants make up five percent of our labor force. Seven percent of our students K-12, have at least one parent who is an unauthorized immigrant. We are talking about splitting up families here. Trump talks big, and he makes it sound easy, but it may prove a little harder than he thinks. Candidates can promise all kinds of things to win elections, but if they cannot actually deliver on them, then it’s just academic.

Let’s not forget that our ancestors were immigrants. Personally, if I had not had the blessing of being born in the United States, and I had to raise my children in abject poverty, amid violence and drug cartels, I am sure I would do whatever I had to so they would have a better life. As Christians, we need to have some compassion. Does this mean they get a free ride? No. Does this mean automatic amnesty? No. They are still here illegally, and they must go through a process to become a legalized citizen. If they have a criminal background, they should be automatically deported.

I also agree with Theodore Roosevelt, who said, “Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or leave the country.”

Before you right off Marco Rubio, read his immigration plan. Don’t just believe what all the pundits say, and keep in mind that we are talking about real people here, many of whom are hard working, decent individuals who just want a better life for their families.

 

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.

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!!

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!

GOP Debate Recap

It was absolute mayhem! I hope the RNC has learned that they need to either establish clear guidelines for these debates, or boycott the liberal networks! CNBC was an absolute joke. Harwood, Quick and Quintanilla were derisive, and the whole debate was unorganized, and chaotic. Most of the questions were condescending and imbecilic: regulating Fantasy Football. Really? Kudos to Christie for calling out the moderators for asking such innocuous questions when we have pressing issues in this country, like ISIS, the economy, and immigration, just to name a few.

The moderators were intentionally baiting the candidates, trying to get into a fighting match. They are all liberals, and they have no interest in helping out the GOP. Their intention was to make them look bad. Helloooo… Reince Priebus….you are not helping the cause!

To their credit, most of the candidates stayed above the fray. A little back and forth between Trump and Kasich, and Jeb Bush sure tried to get into it with Marco Rubio, but Rubio wasn’t having it. Good for him! He was the bigger man, and Jeb Bush just looked pathetic.

I was beginning to wonder if Donald Trump was still “in the arena”…he had very little air time. He really didn’t say anything new, but he did have a good line on the gun free zone, and at the end when he commented on how he was responsible for shortening the debate, so they could “get the hell out of there”.

Carly Fiorina actually ended up with the most airtime, which she fought hard for, but I kind of got tired of listening to her. She is extremely intelligent, and I agree with most of what she says, there’s just something about her delivery that I don’t care about.

Ben Carson had some good moments. I thought he came back well with his answer about gay marriage. He didn’t really stand out, but he didn’t hurt himself either.

Ted Cruz was Ted Cruz. Not to repeat myself…but I just don’t like the guy. He had a good line when he attacked the moderators and commented that they’re the reason America doesn’t trust the mainstream media. It also managed to get him out of answering the question he was asked on raising the debt ceiling.

Chris Christie had a good night. He is at his best on DOJ questions. If the whole president thing doesn’t work out, he would make an awesome attorney general! His best line was the one I mentioned above, followed by his scolding of Harwood with….”Do you want to answer this question John, or do you want me to?” I think he’ll see a slight bump in his poll numbers, but he won’t displace the top three.

Huckabee, Kasich and Paul didn’t hurt themselves, but they didn’t stand out either. Jeb Bush just imploded! His “warm kiss” response was just odd. I think when his criticism about Rubio didn’t land, and handed Rubio some of the best applause of the night, he just kind of fell apart. I think he’s on his way out real soon.

And the winner is….my hero of the night…Marco Rubio! He was put on the defensive almost the whole evening, but he stayed calm and gave as good as he got. He had some really good lines. My favorite was the line about the Democrats having the most powerful Super Pac of all….the mainstream media. He nailed that one! His comeback to Jeb Bush was priceless, and rendered Bush impotent for the rest of the night. Rubio will see a bump in his poll number for sure!