Part 1 of 4
Like many TV programs, I’m going to take a break for a few months to renew thoughts and prepare for a long election process…but first, here is the initial blog of my four-part series on the evolving Republican and Democrat candidates …as they stand today.
By January, the political scene will explode with election rhetoric all day long and there will be plenty of statements to challenge, promises to question, and behaviors to be wary of. Voters should be asking themselves many questions…about the position of these candidates on war, taxes, healthcare, education, jobs, wages, and if their religious ideology and their views are paramount to yours, and if the rule of law in our country is secondary to the rule of God…as in the case of Sharia Law in the Middle East?
Below is information on all the candidates and some actual comments they have recently made.
The Republican Candidates (in alphabetical order)
• Jeb Bush has said he is his own man, but is he? Rather than assemble a team of his own, he selected 17 of Daddy’s and dubya’s former advisors…the same ones who took us into Iraq needlessly. He demonstrated his weakness and inability to make a definitive statement when he gave four different answers in four days when asked, “Given what we know now, would you still have gone into Iraq?” Bush tried to explain his position on Iraq by providing a muddied expression of support for the war. Bush later tried to clean up his mess by finally acknowledging he would have done things differently in Iraq. On the domestic front, Bush along with other family members were also linked to a series of business scandals — including Medicaid fraud and shady S&L deals which ultimately lead to the collapse of Lehman Brothers, a firm that had been strong since its founding in 1850. Jeb made $1.3 million as a financial advisor at Lehman, but just months after his hiring, the institution collapsed, taking a lot of Florida state money with it. (Bush Family Value$ – The Bush clan’s family business, Stephen Pizzo, http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1992/09/bush-family-value)Because of questionable financial issues and two mediocre debate performances, his poll numbers remain in the mid-single digits. As he sticks to the foreign policy of the past, that past also demonstrates Jeb’s lack of compassion for the less fortunate when in 1994 he said, “Under his plan, Florida would refuse to accept federal funds to aid the state’s poor families, and restrict benefits to just two years of assistance. To be eligible for benefits, poor women would be required to ‘identify the fathers of their children, submit to random drug tests and work if jobs were available,’” (Miami Herald, March 1, 1994; http://www.ontheissues.org/2016/Jeb_Bush_Welfare_+_Poverty.htm ) Twenty years later, he still lacks empathy for others when he announced that rather than raising the minimum wage, “People need to work longer hours and, through their productivity, gain more income for their families.” (Quote of the Day: Jeb Bush Is Still Chasing Economic Unicorns; http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/07/quote-day-jeb-bush-still-chasing-economic-unicorns) Or when he said, but later walked back, “I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues.” (What Jeb Bush’s ‘gaffe’ on women’s health really tells us; https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2015/08/05/what-jeb-bushs-gaffe-on-womens-health-really-tells-us/) Is compassion, integrity, and intellect something our next president should have?
• Ben Carson, the only black Republican candidate, did well in the first and second debates. As a result, his numbers have risen briskly. He is strong on calmness and weak on information, facts, and reasonable solutions. He has had a distinguished medical career in neurology, used fetal tissue research in his medical work, and published his results. So, why is he choosing not to support this medical procedure now? In addition, why is he electing to make controversial statements about prisons and gays, such as “because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight—and when they come out, they’re gay. So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question.” His comment on healthcare is equally disturbing: “You know Obamacare is really I think the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery. And it is in a way, it is slavery in a way, because it is making all of us subservient to the government, and it was never about health care. It was about control.” (5 Ben Carson Quotes Proving Why He’s Too Crazy To Be President; http://www.forwardprogressives.com/5-ben-carson-quotes-proving-hes-too-crazy-to-be-president/) Do you believe Obamacare is the worst thing to happen in our country since slavery? Worse than the Great Depression? Worse than 9/11?
• New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is known for his bullying and currently doesn’t have the support of his own state. With responses like these, to questions asking Christie whether his child goes to a public or private school, it is easy to understand his lack of support: “First off it’s none of your business. I don’t ask you where you send your kids to school. Don’t bother me about where I send mine.” (Chris Christie’s 10 best quotes; http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0212/72413.html ) Christie, stilled mired in the George Washington Bridge scandal, continues on as if it didn’t happen. In the second debate, Christie, who is polling near the bottom of the pack, tried to raise his numbers by stressing the need for the middle class to grow…not a popular Republican talking point. However, he supports the popular GOP notion of shutting down Planned Parenthood taking healthcare resources, breast cancer screenings, and contraceptives away from millions of women. According to Christie, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton supports the “the systematic murder of children in the womb to preserve their body parts in a way that maximizes their value for sale for profit” – a totally skewed statement of ideology rather than fact. (Chris Christie Says Hillary Clinton Supports ‘Systematic Murder Of Children’, September 16, 2015; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/gop-debate-planned-parenthood_55fa12b2e4b08820d91758bb)
Is it time for Christie to abandon his presidential dream?
• Ted Cruz continues his role as a disruptor rather than a legislator elected to govern. Rather than compromise, he wants to again shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood, costing the country billions of dollars in lost revenue. His spoiled child antics, if I don’t get my way, you can’t play with my toys, is costing both the country and the Republican Party. And if he shuts down Planned Parenthood, he has no plans to provide alternative healthcare services to the millions of low income men and women who are now receiving it. Cruz not only thinks his views are all that matter, he thinks he is above the law as well and that his views should supersede the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage and has said: “If the citizens of the state of Iowa or the citizens of the state of Texas want to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman … the states have the constitutional authority to do so and the federal government and unelected judges cannot set aside the democratically elected legislature’s reasonable decisions to enact and protect traditional marriage.” (You Need To See These 11 Scary Quotes From GOP Presidential Candidate Sen. Ted Cruz; http://newsone.com/3101135/gop-presidential-candidate-2016-senator-ted-cruz-quotes) Yet, he had no problem accepting the corruption of our democratic process with the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Disagreeing with our laws is an American right, but deciding which laws of the land you will follow and which ones you won’t, is neither legal nor smart. What would America look like if everyone decided to follow only the laws they liked?
Part 2 of 4
Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, and George Pataki
• Carly Fiorina, the only woman in the Republican field, had a good showing in the first and second debates even though Fact Check proved what she said about abortions and fetal tissue video footage was deliberately false. And although Planned Parenthood and other reputable sources have denied her assertions, she doubled down on her flawed commentary by saying at the second debate: “I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes [edited tapes and supplied by anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress, yet still didn’t have the scene she described]. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says: ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’ “(Tampa Bay times, Political Fact ü.com; http://www.politifact.com/truth-o- meter/statements/2015/sep/17/carly-fiorina/cnn-debate-carly-fiorina-urges-others-watch-planne/). Liked by Republicans for her robust criticism of Clinton and her strong response to Trump has launched her from the kid’s table to a real contender. With an impressive career in both profit and nonprofit work, Carly Fiorina became the first woman to lead a Fortune 50 company. She touts her business acumen, even though she was fired by Hewlett-Packard after the company’s stock value dropped by half in 2005 from $106 billion to $56 billion. While she cites the revenue as doubling during her tenure, she neglects to mention that a large share of that was because of her disastrous purchase of Compaq, increasing the low margin PC business versus growing the more lucrative printer business. As far as her political or government experience, she has never held an elected office. In 2010 she ran for a California U.S. Senate seat, but lost to Barbara Boxer. Now she is running for President of the United States. Carly successfully fights for spotlight by supporting standard GOP values –no new taxes regardless, no ban on assault weapons, and repeal Obamacare. She shares some truths about her rival Republicans, “People are tired of the status quo. You see that in various movements in and out of our [the Republicans] party, but most candidates are offering hollow rhetoric, not specific solutions.” (Carly Fiorina Quotes, http://www.azquotes.com/author/4831-Carly_Fiorina) Is Carly a viable candidate or is it just her turn in the spotlight?
• Lindsey Graham’s ratings are approximately zero percent, so there are only two ways he can go — up or out. Since his platform is primarily bomb Iran, this extremely hawkish senator isn’t very popular with most rational people. The Iraq war destabilized the Middle East, left a large parcel of land for ISIS to grow and occupy; an Iraq army incapable or unwilling to defeat ISIL; incurred trillions in costs, thousands of dead Americans, and thousands more with missing limbs and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder; and soldiers with years of deployments who now are finding it hard to integrate into society. Lindsey Graham’s foreign policy is clear—he wants to invade Iraq again. You cannot destroy ISIL in Syria without a ground component. ..There is no way that I can see how we fix the problem in Iraq and Syria without American ground troops. (Lindsey Graham on War & Peace; http://www.ontheissues.org/2016/Lindsey_Graham_War_+_Peace.htm). On the domestic front, his support for the controversial oil industry is consistent. Even though the oil and gas industries continue to rake in high profits, Graham would prefer giving them taxpayer subsidies rather than using the money for food stamps, healthcare, or education. Accordingly he said, “I’m going to vote with my party. I just think oil subsidies have to be part of a bigger package.” (Top 10 Absurd Quotes by Lindsey Graham, http://www.freedomworks.org/content/top-10-absurd-quotes-lindsey-graham) Do you think most Americans support oil subsidies over job programs, feeding the hungry, taking care of our veterans, and making education affordable?
• Mike Huckabee, an Evangelical Christian, thinks we shouldn’t have separation of church and state, but be ruled by the divine. Does he not realize that idea goes against the very foundation of our country? His outlandish remarks include “The Iran deal is so bad it will ‘take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.’” (‘Offensive,’ ‘Sad’: Reaction To Huckabee’s Holocaust ‘Oven’ Reference; http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/07/27/426729144/offensive-sad-politicans-react-to-huckabees-holocaust-reference) Additionally Huckabee called on conservative Christians to engage in a massive “Biblical disobedience” campaign against the “false god of judicial supremacy,” comparing the Supreme Court decision on the legality of gay marriage to the Dred Scott case that upheld the Fugitive Slave Act. (Mike Huckabee Set the Bar Really High for the Worst Reaction to the Same-Sex Marriage Ruling; http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/mike-huckabee-just-set-bar-really-high-worst-reaction-same-sex-marriage) His overt support for law breaker and jailed Kim Davis displays a disturbing quality that is sweeping our country…that an individual’s own religious beliefs top the rule of law. Therefore, he supports a theocracy type of government over our current democracy. Do you care if America becomes a theocracy rather than a democracy?
• John Kasich, governor of OH, just barely made the first Top Ten debate, and had a less than stellar performance in the second one. Unlike most Republicans, he admits that we have to take steps to fix our environment. “If we intend to provide a better life, and a better world, for future generations, we can’t ignore the quality of the environment we leave them.” (John Kasich Quotes, http://www.azquotes.com/author/7759-John_Kasich) But as Governor his conservative values dominated many of his actions. He cut taxes in Ohio several times. He is anti-abortion, and signed a controversial bill placing restrictions on the procedure and women’s access to it. He also strongly favored a labor law that would have imposed harsh restrictions on collective bargaining rights, but the proposition was defeated in a popular election. Along with practical agenda items, his bizarre views shine through on other issues. While many Americans think teachers make a lot of sacrifices in pursuit of educating our youth, Kasich believes otherwise. He recently stated, “If I were, not president, but if I were king in America, I would abolish all teachers’ lounges where they sit together and worry about ‘woe is us.’” (GOP presidential candidate says teachers are whiners with a ‘woe is us’ attitude; http://www.businessinsider.com/john-kasich-said-he-would-abolish-teachers-lounges-2015-8) Do we really want a president who thinks one of our most pressing national issues is teachers’ ability to converse with each other a few minutes a day away from the students they are working hard to educate?
• George Pataki has only about 5 percent of the Republican electorate saying they would vote for him. As the three-term governor of New York, he brought conservative values and led the state through the 9/11 attack. However, when he chose to favor stricter gun control laws and abortion rights as governor, he fell out of step with his conservative party. The conservative party did not like this statement made by Pataki either: “We also have a program in place for low income people. A family of four making $26,000 a year can receive medical coverage, irrespective of citizenship or documents.” (George Pataki Quotes; http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/g/george_pataki.html)
• Marco Rubio fared well in the first debate pushing his youth and vision for the future. Many believe Rubio represents the future – young, Cuban heritage, conservative, and popular in his home state of Florida. However, his stand on abortion and gay marriage are problematic. He believes women must carry a baby to term regardless of conception circumstance (i.e rape or incest) and that “At a time when the American family is threatened as never before, redefining it away from the union of one man and one woman only promises to weaken it as a child-rearing, values-conveying institution.”(Marco Rubio’s ‘American Dreams’: 10 key quotes; http://www.politico.com/story/2015/01/marco-rubios-american-dreams-10-key-quotes-114102.html) Rather than focusing on rebuilding America, Rubio, like the other Republican candidates, is a neocon who believes he knows what is best for the rest of the world. “In every region of the world, we should always search for ways to use U.S. aid and humanitarian assistance to strengthen our influence, the effectiveness of our leadership, and the service of our interests and ideals.” (5 Marco Rubio Quotes That Prove He’s the Neocon Dream Candidate; http://www.voicesofliberty.com/article/5-marco-rubio-quotes-that-prove-hes-the-neocon-dream-candidate/) Maybe Rubio should focus on building a more humane American by addressing income inequality, focus on our kids’ future by addressing climate change, and focus on creating American jobs rebuilding our infrastructure rather than spending our resources trying to defeat people and their ideals around the world?
• Rick Santorum, didn’t do well in two previous elections, but must believe the third time is the charm. Previously he supported home school and rigid religious beliefs. Additionally, he refuses to raise the minimum wage for hard working Americans, but takes home $180,000 of taxpayer dollars for his salary, and then makes this insulting quote: “In far too many families with young children, both parents are working, when, if they really took an honest look at the budget, they might find they don’t both need to… Sadly the propaganda campaign launched in the 1960s has taken root. The radical feminists succeeded in undermining the traditional family and convincing women that professional accomplishments are the key to happiness.” (7 Cringeworthy Rick Santorum Quotes; http://www.bustle.com/articles/86196-7-cringeworthy-rick-santorum-quotes-that-could-set-his-campaign-back-decades) Like many GOP candidates, his views date back to the 1950s, rather than looking at the future. His vision for America is to regress back to a white male-dominated society, rather than a diverse one of equality for all. The ultimate question voters should ask is: “Do we want America to be a progressive country and still uphold the ideals of our forefathers or, do we want it to be country controlled by a few stuck in the past?
• Donald Trump, the surprise candidate, is still number one in the polls even though no specific visions or plans have been announced. It is unclear what the self-funded billionaire candidate stands for except making America great again. His rise in the polls suggests just how unhappy the American people are with the status quo in DC. His ego-centric comments and unrelated ramblings continue to show who he really is. “We have a disaster called the big lie: Obamacare…And it’s going to get worse, because remember, Obamacare really kicks in, in 2016. Obama is going to be out playing golf. He might be on one of my courses. I would invite him, I actually would say. I have the best courses in the world, so I’d say, if he wants to — I have one right next to the White House, right on the Potomac. If he’d like to play, that’s fine. These off-the-cuff statements are shallow versus any comments that contain substantive ideas or solutions: “All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me — consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected” or “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” (The 199 Most Donald Trump Things Donald Trump Has Ever Said – Would you vote for this man? http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/08/the-absolute-trumpest-121328.html#.VdDpaCGFOM8) Wanting to reform government versus the status quo is one thing. But backing a radical who bombasts nearly everyone, but has no substantial solutions to anything is another. As the article asks, “Would you vote for this man?”
First causalities of the Republican field
- Rick Perry, the 2012 “oops” candidate, did not fare well in 2016 either. Dropping out of the 2016 because of lack of funds, he is one of the few candidates to defend George W. Bush, even as he continues his oops legacy. Perry’s more recent misstep comment was: “George W. Bush did a great job in the presidency, defending us from freedom.” (34 Deliciously Ridiculous Rick Perry Quotes, http://www.buzzfeed.com/parentwin/34-deliciously-ridiculous-rick-perry-quotes-c8nl#.kmBjx65JO6 ) We will miss Perry’s oops comments like the one he made in response to Donald Trump saying Perry was withdrawing from the presidential race: “A broken clock is right once a day,” Perry replied with a smile, not seeing the mistake in his statement. (Oops — Rick Perry says broken clock is right once a day: http://nypost.com/2015/09/03/oops-rick-perry-says-broken-clock-is-right-once-a-day
Will you miss this clown being in the race?
- Three-time elected governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker, promised thousands of jobs in his state, but failed to provide them, drastically slashed public education money, and destroyed workers’ rights. Even though the American people are clearly against another war effort, Scott Walker, like most Republican candidates are for it. “For political reasons, President Obama isn’t willing to expand the role of American troops,” said the Wisconsin governor in a statement posted on the website of his Our American Revival PAC. “Politics should never dictate what needs to be done to ensure our safety and ensure victory when we deploy military power.” (On the Issues, Scott Walker on War & Peace; http://www.ontheissues.org/2016/Scott_Walker_War_+_Peace.htm) With a sharp drop in the polls, Walker knew he needed a breakthrough performance at the second debate. He didn’t get it. With failing numbers, limited debate points, and nothing new to offer, is anyone surprised that Walker withdrew from a race he was clearly losing.
• Jim Webb…nobody even knew he was in the race.
It’s going to be a busy fall and winter. While I won’t be doing my usual blogs, I do plan to offer some shorter “thoughts” on the various clown caravan candidates and the ones who might actually get the nomination. After all, with all those debates, and instantaneous media coverage, there is just so much that can’t wait until January.
The Republican agenda seems to focus on hatred for Obama, repealing Obamacare, defunding Planned Parenthood, refusing to raise minimum wages, cutting taxes on the wealthy, favoring lower interests rates for corporate lenders but not for student tuition, getting rid of bank regulations making it easier for another economic collapse, killing the Iran diplomatic deal in favor of war…and the list goes on.
Remember, all of these people are running for President of the United States. It is up to every American of voting age to exercise their rights at the ballot box and insure that our leadership the next four to eight years be the best it can be. The nominee should be someone with vision, experience, intellect, and the willingness to compromise, but the resolve to go it alone if necessary. Which, if any Republican candidate do you think fits that description?