A Volatile GOP Debate

 Rubio Under AttackRubio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Primary Season

election 2016Selecting Our Candidate

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May the best man win!

Sources:

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

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

 

Let’s Not Repeat History

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

We Need A Leader

 

A year or so ago, while visiting Southern Methodist University in Dallas, I had the opportunity to tour the George W. Bush Presidential Library located on their campus. One of the exhibit areas is a theatre where they play a montage of scenes from September 11, 2001, and the days immediately following. That day is etched in my mind, as I’m sure it is for most other Americans, but my memory of what President Bush said and did during that time was a little foggy. As I watched the videos, including the scene where the President first hears of the attacks from Andy Card, his address to the nation late that evening, and his words of comfort to those mourning at the National Cathedral three days later, I found myself getting teary eyed.

As I sat there, it dawned on me that my feelings were not the result of the circumstances, as horrific as they were; it was because I had forgotten what it’s like to have a President who shows emotion. I had forgotten what it’s like to listen to a President speak, and feel proud of my country. I had forgotten what it’s like to feel safe, knowing that our president is going to protect the country. President Bush, though visibly shaken, managed to address the American people, and reassure us that he was in charge, and that an attack on our country would not go unanswered. I had chills as I looked at the video of him at ground zero, standing among the first responders, his arm around one of them, talking through a bullhorn to them, to us, and to our attackers, and letting us all know that this carnage would not stand, while in the background they chanted, USA! USA! USA!

Obama meme

For the last seven years, we have had a president who from his first apology tour in Europe, where he told the people of France that we are “arrogant and derisive”, has been confessing what he perceives to be America’s sins. He said we made “hasty decisions” and were “off course” in the War on Terror, and that we need to work through the “darker periods in our history”, and my personal favorite, how his election will see a “restoration of America’s standing in the world”.

President Obama has made the focus of his administration to demean and degrade our country. I think we have become so used to hearing what a horrible country we are, how we torture prisoners, purposefully target young black males, disrespect Muslims, and cling to our guns and religion, that we don’t even notice it anymore. What president in our history has derided our country like this? What president, especially when he is on foreign soil, disparages his country and his fellow citizens?

Sunday evening, President Obama spoke from the Oval Office to “reassure” Americans about his plans to fight ISIS and to abate the ongoing threat of terrorism. It was an exercise in futility, because he has no plan. Rather, he used the opportunity to call on Congress for stricter laws on gun control, as if that would have prevented the attack in San Bernardino, or any of the past attacks for that matter. More pointedly, he cautioned us against anti-Muslim rhetoric, and assured us that this violence has nothing to do with Islam. Apparently, the larger concern for him is that we esteem Islam and Muslims, and right off terrorists as random individuals who have just gone down the wrong path. I am not implying that all Muslims are murderers, but we cannot deny there is a radical form of Islam whose goal is to perpetrate the violence against the “infidels” they believe their faith and the Quran necessitate. What I do not understand is why the president is so solicitous of Muslims over Christians, and why he is so consistently derisive of our country.

His esteemed attorney general, Loretta Lynch, went so far as to threaten legal action against anyone who engages in anti-Muslim rhetoric. The last time I checked, this was a free country, where we have freedom of speech, and freedom of religion. As I listened to his address that night, it occurred to me that for the last seven years, he has fed us a steady diet of “propaganda”, one of the oldest tools of the enemy. Hitler used it, Mussolini used it, Stalin used it, Ho Chi Minh used it, and they all found it to be very effective. When you condition people with the same twisted information long enough, they begin to believe it. These men were able to convince their populace that their depraved actions were righteous and for the good of their country. Of course, we all know that they were insane, but most of those who lived under their totalitarianism could not see it, or had no choice but to endure it.

We do have a choice in this country. We call it “impeachment”, and I think it is long past due. Barack Hussein Obama has weakened our country militarily, and diminished our standing among our allies. He has put us in harms way with his incompetent leadership. He cannot see that we are in a “war on terror” whether he is willing to use the term or not, and whether he is willing to step up and fight or not. He has referred to attacks in our country that were obviously driven by jihad, as “workplace violence”, and attributed the attack on our embassy in Benghazi to an anti-Muslim video. The night before the attacks in Paris, he said we were “containing ISIS”. After the attack, he called it a “setback”.

He has used every episode of violence to further his anti-gun agenda, and to vilify Republicans because we are not inane enough to realize that every incremental move on the part of Democrats towards stricter gun laws is a step closer to surrendering our only form of defense. We certainly cannot count on our so-called Commander in Chief to keep us safe.

During the bulk of President Obama’s occupancy of the White House, we have been relatively inconsequential militarily. Obama routinely ignores the advice of the joint chiefs, whose purpose it is to advise the president on military matters. He refuses to acknowledge the danger that ISIS poses to our country, and will not commit to their defeat. He speaks of a coalition that is nonexistent, and the airstrikes he has ordered against ISIS, have been ineffective. The bulk of their financing is from oil, and he refused to bomb their oil fields or tankers, because he was concerned about the effect it would have on the environment.

I am not a military strategist, but I do know that 70 years ago we won a decisive victory half way around the world, against formidable opponents like Germany and Japan. I feel certain that their level of intelligence, strategic knowledge, and military preparedness far exceeded that of a group of thugs who live in tents in the desert. A year ago, President Obama dismissed them as the “JV team”, and his procrastination has allowed ISIS to expand their territory and their numbers, but even at their current size and military capacity, I have a hard time believing that the most sophisticated super power on the planet cannot level them.

In August 1945, President Truman made the most difficult decision of his life when he decided to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but he did it to end a war that had cost millions of lives, and would cost an estimated 500,000 more if we had to take the next step and invade Japan. As Richard Nixon said of Truman years later, “He was a tough son of a bitch; he had some of the best gut instincts I have ever seen in a president, he trusted them and he was usually dead-on.” Well, I wish Obama had even half of Truman’s guts.

I firmly believe that President Obama has no desire to defeat ISIS. I cannot imagine why, but he is either completely inept, or he has another agenda. Either way, he is not looking out for the best interests of this country, and that makes him a treasonous president. He is completely out of touch with the fear that American’s are feeling, and he cannot begin to fathom a strategy to defeat ISIS. An enemy in relative infancy outmatches the leader of the most powerful country in the world, with access to the latest technology and most sophisticated military capability.

That puts me in mind of something my very wise, but not always subtle Mother used to say to me when I would call her and complain about one of my toddlers who had me at my wits end, “Well hon, if you’re bamboozled by a two-year-old, you might as well turn your toes up”.

I think that applies here.

 

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”.

 

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.