Posts Tagged ‘presidential candidates’

POST ELECTION BLAH-BLAH

November 14, 2016

I breathed a sigh of relief the morning after with confirmation that Trump had, indeed, achieved the seemingly impossible and threaded the needle to greater than 270 electoral votes. Like the majority of conservative voters, I was not a Trump supporter; but I was not a “never-Trumper,” either.

I believed, and still do, that people who truly liked either candidate are uninformed, immoral, or amoral. Of course, I disagreed with the progressive left on who posed the greater danger to our country. They allowed themselves to believe the propaganda that Donald Trump was worse than a coarse, sometimes juvenile candidate and mischaracterized him as bigoted and unstable. They falsely proclaimed reprehensible actions (Hillory’s) as less consequential than inexcusable words (Donald’s). The demonstrations/riots that followed the election serve to illustrate that belief, although it remains unclear what proportion of his detractors share this level of angst (there are talking heads that proclaim these demonstrations are not spontaneous, but bought and paid for, like those at the pre-election Trump rallies).

In the past, winning an election has been declared a “mandate,” and this election is no exception. Now, I support the concept of the electoral college and the rationale for our founders crafting a republic rather than a democracy (yes, we are the former, not the latter). But the success of our country moving forward hinges on our net values. It is not lost on me that small majority of the popular vote went to Hillary. This is the result of decades of government growth, expansion of the welfare state (handouts), and liberal education that fails to educate our children on the reasons an electoral college and a Senate exist (I recently laughed as a liberal senator was quoted as decrying the existence of the electoral college, the same concept that was responsible for giving her a job). Because both candidates were so flawed, it is difficult to determine to what extent this muddies the waters in terms of the electorate’s core beliefs.

At this point, is it in the realm of possibility that changing course, if this occurs, will reverse the steady decline (I recognize the left does not see a steady decline)? I don’t know. Already the cries for “unity” and “compromise” that have derailed previous attempts to move to the right ring out. You cannot unify mutually exclusive, disparate beliefs, only compromise on how quickly and to what extent you get there. While I strongly believe a constitutionally conservative Supreme Court will benefit the country in the years ahead over a liberal progressive one, unless we get a handle on our spending and debt and calm the turbulent international waters, a peaceful, evolutionary healing will be impossible. Historical cycles indicate we’re approaching a Crisis, and there may be no way to stop it, only overcome it.

And it will extract a great cost.

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ELECTORAL PSYCHOSIS: OR THE HILLARUMP-TRILLARY SYNDROME

May 25, 2016

I came across an op-ed piece in our local newspaper recently by Eliot Cohen. His commentary boiled down to a call for a third-party candidate. He termed Hillary Clinton “easily the lesser evil” and posited that a third-party candidate would send her a message to “govern from the center.”

A bit later in the week I had a brief political sidebar with a patient (this seems to arise more often these days), and he expressed disgust with the current polarization and voiced a similar wish for more cooperation and a move to the center.

Now, I’ve been persistently perplexed by the rise to the top of two deeply flawed candidates who share at least one thing in common: They have the highest unfavorable ratings of the pack. So what would possess the American public to ostensibly rally around their least favored candidates? The call for a move to the center gelled a theory I’d been harboring.

But first, getting back to the patient, I inquired if he were $100,000 in debt, would he reduce his spending to neutral, “governing from the center,” as it were, or would he tighten his belt in an effort to climb the uphill road to fiscal recovery?

For decades now progressive Democrats and Republicans have doubled down on unprecedented “grow and spend” policies that have become so entrenched that much of the electorate cannot imagine a viable alternative. Many have adopted a similar personal fiscal policy, planning little for the future while enjoying the moment. The lines for $5 and $6 dollar Starbucks’ beverages grow even while we hear of increasing joblessness and a shrinking economy. The illusion of the status quo is buttressed by a growing welfare state supported by unprecedented borrowing, printing, and their associated campaign promises.

But the odd bird of an election we’re witnessing reflects an unease that’s starting to ripple across a growing segment of the country: a realization that things are not working. For many, the solution has taken the shape of a call for an outsider; someone who will do something—anything—differently. For some this “savior” takes the form of a blustering, fist-shaking, non-politician who talks a lot about “winning,” with populist catch-phrases in search of elusive policies and substance. For others, it’s the siren call of wealth redistribution, the indomitable phoenix of socialism and its comrade “social justice,” once again rising from the ashes even as the world watches its demise again…and again. And yet others crave a return to the only normal they can fathom after decades of intransigence, just a few more years of comforting printing and spending, and things will eventually work themselves out. This, even if the promises come from someone they don’t really trust…and who might be indicted. Finally, a growing but stunted group made an aborted attempt to place a voice that spoke to the only solution that makes sense: Shrinking government, reducing spending, stopping crony capitalism, and growing the private sector economy. But this messenger was tainted ideologically. Those on the left are conditioned to see this this viewpoint as espoused by narrow-minded bigots who love only corporate fat cats, and many in the center were put off by exhortations weighed down by right-to-life and other perceived religious undertones.

When faced with the knowledge that something must be done and the one obvious solution you’ve been told is evil, cognitive dissonance occurs, and the paradox creates…the Hillarump-Trillary Syndrome. Side effects include mini-riots at campaign stops and spending an inordinate amount of media time distracting oneself with the pros and cons of a minute fraction of the public’s right to choose which bathrooms they may enter.

A third party candidate? Americans have always been an exceptionally innovative people. Given time, I’m certain we can come up with a someone we like even less.

SHELL GAMES

May 13, 2012

Politics is what it is—a game of perception. It should be clear to everyone at this time that Barack Obama has little to run on going forward, and still the polls are neck-a-neck. He ran on change—transparency, Guantanamo, nixing lobbyists, unification, economic rebound, and all have failed to materialize. Arguably his biggest accomplishment, health care reform, is viewed by more than half of the electorate as a disaster in evolution. So, if you can’t run on your record, you attack your opponent’s true or perceived negatives; distraction is your ally.

Romney presents somewhat of a problem, however. While conservative opponents in the primary months attacked him as being a moderate, this won’t work for Obama’s team. Instead, they have to dredge up all the old conservative stereotypes: anti-poor, anti-women, anti-gay, pro-pollution. Among true believers, it works. Among true believers, it doesn’t matter—it’s the undecideds, the independents that have to be convinced. So they look for dirt. Here’s the challenge for the Democrat party: Romney’s been such a straight arrow that they’ve had to go all the way back to high school when he allegedly was involved in a bullying episode! Election over—Obama 1, Romney 0.

Kidding aside, if you believe character matters, a revealing story about Romney made the rounds not long ago in a paid political ad and on the Internet that has been vetted by Snopes. In 1996, when he was founder and managing partner at Bain Capital, Romney played a central role in organizing a major effort to find a partner’s daughter, going so far as to close the company and fly 50 employees to New York. He is quoted as saying at the time, “Our children are what life is all about. Everything else takes a back seat.”

Let’s look beyond the distractions to the candidates’ characters and the issues. Let’s get the divisive social issues such as abortion and gay marriage off the federal platforms and ship them back to the states, so we can focus on making the country healthy again.

The only one who wins in a shell game is the person shuffling the shells.

I DON’T CARE

February 13, 2012

I’m running for president.

In my mind, that is. I’m campaigning on a platform of “I don’t care.” It’s what I want to hear from a presidential candidate, perhaps for the same “missing something” that keeps the Republican electorate from settling on one of the remaining contenders. I’m mounting the podium now.

My fellow Americans: I’m tired of the bickering. I’m tired of the complaining. Not just among my fellow candidates, but the American people. Yes, I know the government is corrupt and its members have been poor stewards of our money. Yes, I know much of Wall Street has been debauched by crony capitalism. But we have forgotten the elephant standing in our midst: We are their masters—they work for us. And we’ve allowed them to pay us off with our own dollars, buying votes by redirecting our own wealth. While producing nothing they accrue their power and blind us to our own: we, the citizens of the nation, are responsible for putting and keeping them in office. We’ve permitted a permanent ruling class to flourish at our expense, working under a set of rules that is illegal for us and not only legal, but “ethical” for them, because they decide their own ethics. We’ve allowed them to print and borrow dollars so that we may live at a higher standard of living than we’ve earned, while they squander much of the rest, and pass off the debt to future generations, our children and their children. Then we rail at them for their irresponsibility, but we don’t fire them because they pay us not to. We accept an archaic, convoluted tax system that has been tortuously constructed to award winners and losers and give the ruling class even more power, and convince ourselves we don’t have the power to change it, because that’s the way it is, or because it’s scary and risky to make a change, or because we benefit from the dole. We’ve grown our government to such a large part of the economy that we’re afraid to cut it back, even knowing a tree must be pruned yearly to bear fruit for the next.

I don’t care if we have to move into a trailer for a decade while the foundation of the house is retrofitted so it doesn’t collapse. I don’t care if we have to steer the ship into ice-encrusted waters to avoid going aground. Yes, people will be poorer for a while, because we’ve been richer than we deserved. Tragically, people will be sicker and die sooner for a while, because we’ve been profligate with our spending in ways that we shouldn’t have. I do care that a nation built upon the greatest set of values in mankind’s history return to those values and survive. We are now General Motors, with no one to bail us out. Will the world be better with a nation like China at the helm? I think not.

As our sun sets, God has provided an example for us as a warning, a small Mediterranean nation, floundering, unable to change. Is this to be our future? Has more than half the nation been lulled by the mantra of social justice, government payouts that will dull the sword of swift change we need to save ourselves? I hope not.

Many people will say I’m insensitive, a barbarian. I care not about the poor, the weak, the sickly. They’re wrong. The gun has already been loaded, the hammer cocked. We do what we must at whatever price to fix it, or suffer the final consequences of failure, with its even greater cost. People will say I’m slitting my own political throat by proclaiming what no other candidate will—that we, the people have a hand in what is befalling us. They’re right.

I don’t care.