Posts Tagged ‘presidential election’

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.

BOSS TRUMP

December 14, 2015

We have a new Teflon Don. The resilience of John Gotti may be responsible for the coining of the nickname, but the old mob boss is now a whisper in history to the shout that’s known as Donald Trump. And arguably, Trump is the more deadly.

 

Few people, myself included, anticipated the staying power of the new Teflon Don. I’d assumed that his refreshing bluntness (read: bah, humbug to political correctness), his financial independence immunizing him to the demands of special interests, and his outsider status burnished by an astute business knowledge often lacking in career politicians, would fuel an ascent that would, however, fizzle in weeks to months–just as Republican candidate after candidate rose and fell in succession during the prior presidential election. A barrage of self-launched anti-Trump missiles would inevitably bring the campaign crashing back to Earth. Well, like so many others, I was wrong.

 

His most recent missile, supporting a moratorium on all Muslims entering the U.S. has, if anything, increased his poll numbers. My assumption that 75% of the conservative and right-of-center independents were just biding their time, waiting for another candidate to gain enough traction, may still be correct, but may now be only 70%–and falling.

 

I hate political correctness. I hate arrogant Washington insiders with about as much understanding of economics as Stalin. I hate the ineffective prosecuting of the terrorist threat and ineffectual protection of our borders. But I never thought anger would so cloud the sensorium of the electorate as to believe that a man with bull-in-a-china-shop diplomacy skills should serve as the international face of the U.S. And I don’t care if he gets Mexico to pay for the wall (although that would be a nice perk). But the true danger is making him the face of the Republican Party.

 

Now, I consider myself a conservative but only grudgingly associate with the GOP, which more often than not is as embarrassing as the Democrat Party. However, we remain a two-party system and the only alternative is Hillary. Trump’s antics give fuel to the specious arguments that conservatives are all racist, bigoted shills for the wealthy. While Trump will have no impact on the entrenched beliefs of the far left, my fear is that he’ll dramatically influence the undecided independents and the low-information crowd that arguably decide the election to move to Hillary’s camp, and cause many conservatives to stay home on election day. And this would spell disaster for our country and possibly set back conservatism for decades. No wonder the liberal media can’t get enough of him (they gave him more coverage this past week than the San Bernadino terrorist attack).

 

I still think it likely that Trump will implode, but I’m becoming less certain of that outcome with each passing week.

 

After all, he is the Teflon Don.

 

POLISHING THE SILVER ON THE TITANIC

October 29, 2012

In nine days we will be participating in arguably the most important election in our lives. A referendum of our net ideology. And I must admit, while the intellectual part of me understands the human frailties of sloth, greed and denial, the emotional part still cannot fathom how we’ve allowed ourselves to reach this point. The country’s future balances on a razor’s edge.

So I ask those who don’t share my views (assuming there’s a one out there who bothers to read this)—would you replace the baseboards in your home after a pipe bursts before fixing the leak? It’s a silly question, isn’t it? Like prioritizing polishing the silver while the Titanic is sinking. Yet, on a national scale, we do this daily.

We talk of raising taxes to quench a voracious deficit so large it will drown future generations, without once seriously considering drastic cuts to the wanton spending that is scuttling the ship. Kind of like using silver teaspoons as bailers. We talk of immigration reform ad nauseum without closing the border as the necessary first step (destroying the economy is an equally effective ploy but has bothersome side effects, as we’re finding out).

The liberals complain that Romney is vague on specifics with his five-point plan (as if his counterpart’s agenda is crystal clear beyond “giving everyone a fair shot” and “helping out the middle class”). The truth is, Romney can’t be specific. If he told us he’s going to try a shot at national Chapter 11 reorganization to avoid going Chapter 7, he’d never get elected. We don’t want to hear how we need to experience a decade or so of pain to offset the decades of living off the dime of our kids.

It won’t be easy, and there isn’t anyone who has a sacred cow that won’t be led to the slaughter. But the idea that we can keep kicking this can down the road until the economy miraculously recovers is just wrong-headed. Rome collapsed and Greece went down for the count twice, first as an empire and then as a nice vacation destination.

Despite what you may have heard, nothing’s “too big to fail.”

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.

HOPE OR CHANGE

February 27, 2012

I’ve heard that several polls indicate that if the election were held today, Barack Obama would beat any of the Republican candidates. If true, this is compelling evidence for an electorate hungry to maintain the status quo. This seems illogical unless the majority believes one or more of the following:

  • Conservatives are all evil, greedy rich people bent on accruing more wealth at the expense of the downtrodden worker.
  • The president’s plan is solid and has only failed to produce results because he hasn’t gone far enough due to obstruction from the right.
  • As indicated by recent statistics, the economy has begun to turn around despite the failure to balance the budget, develop a workable plan to reduce the debt or revise the current tax system.
  • Government subsidies and redistribution trump concerns about debt accrual and “quantitative easing.”
  • Government sponsored crony capitalism can be offset by more aggressive attempts at wealth redistribution.
  • Without tight-fisted government control of the marketplace the world will be polluted or heated to extinction anyway so economic failure is a secondary concern.

I also suspect a significant proportion of the would-be Obama supporters are either marginally focused on the issues or craving normalcy to the point of engaging in wishful thinking.

A Republican president won’t guarantee success in turning this nation around. But a reelection of the current leader will be seen, with good reason, as a mandate to continue the current policies; policies which I predict will lead to a Greece-style disaster—with guns. So it’s more than an election—it’s a referendum on our dominant ideology.

While we get side-tracked with issues of contraception and abortion, it bears remembering that this is indeed the most consequential election in our lifetime. A baby conceived today will be taking its first breath at the moment in history we chart its future.