Archive for the ‘Hillary Clinton’ category

Why Should Mr/Ms “X” Be President?

July 14, 2019

Hillary Clinton should have been President but she managed to allow defeat to be snatched from the jaws of victory.  Instead of an annoying “triangulation” leader, America got instead a narcissistic, rudderless, bully.  Clinton may have been no George Washington, but Donald Trump has set new standards for the worst America has to offer.

With the 2020 election just ahead, Democrat Presidential candidates (all 24 of them) are vying for voter attention and ultimately the Democrat nomination.  So far bold, progressive policies have been the “go to” differentiator judging from what the candidates are saying in debates and on TV.  “Medicare For All”, “Free College Education”, or “Middle Class tax cuts” are examples.  Hmmm.

Each candidate has faced with a similar dilemma, why me and not the other candidate?

Voters must, however, be more circumspect.  None of these promises will be possible with the Senate in one party’s control and the House in the other party’s.  Even if Democrats were to win control of both houses, gaining widespread public support would be tough and without public support, even Democrats will hesitate to move on some of the more progressive proposals out of fear of losing their Congressional seat in the next election.  

And what if the economy is falling apart due to the current trade wars?  Or, the Middle East erupts into conflict based upon our current Iranian policies?  Or floods, natural catastrophes, or terrorist attacks occur?  There just might be no national energy for making large social change in the midst of other pressing problems.

So, picking the Democrat candidate ought to be focused upon

  • Who can govern

  • Who can govern in difficult and uncertain times

  • Who can balance domestic and foreign affairs

  • Who can bring an Administration of skilled and talented people together to work on America’s problems

Hmmm.

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The Cynics Quandary

February 12, 2019

The election of Donald Trump has placed a new lens on the everyday political world.  Through this lens, many, while scratching their heads about the crass, wholly despicable, and greedy attempts by the President to reap benefits from the Office of the President, say “sure President Trump is unusual but what has changed, politicians are all the same, and my life is unchanged and no different than it was under President Obama”?

Trump apologists begin with “I voted for Trump because Hillary was worse”.  To be sure, the Clintons have used their roles in State and National politics to gather and enhance personal wealth.  But both Hillary and Bill Clinton were students of domestic and foreign policy, and observed the accepted decorum associated with political life.  Both were interested in sustaining traditional American values and institutions.  

George W Bush, the compassionate conservative, was already wealthy when he ran for President.  Bush inherited “family” money and connections.  “W”, however, was hardly a student of anything (other than bicycle riding and painting).  And Bush’s term produced the Iraq Invasion and Occupation (the unwinding of the Middle East), Hurricane Katrina (the failure of Government services), and the near depression of 2008 (failure of government oversight).  Americans were left the impression that “W” meant well but was surrounded by those who didn’t.  

Barack Obama appealed to a different voter segment and was swept into office.  Obama was well intended but not skilled as an executive.  Obama was neither rich (meaning wealth and Washington influence) nor experienced (meaning how Washington worked), or just as importantly, how the Democrat Party leader ought to lead.  President Obama was more like a quick learning Don Quixote than “I don’t worry about those things” George W Bush.

President Trump represents something quite different.  His style and actions are foreign to Presidents who respected the office despite what they may or may not accomplish.  Trump is first and foremost about himself, the perpetual need for narcissistic gratification and the robust and crass search for personal wealth.  Beyond Trump’s inclinations  lays a much more dangerous side.

President Trump is putting holes in the ship of state’s side BELOW the water line.  His baseless attacks on the FBI, CIA, and members of Congress are over the top.  Trump’s repeated assertion that he knows more than the Generals (or Global Warming experts) presents  risks to every American in the days, months, and years ahead.  But some tell us Hillary would have been worse.  Hmmm.

The feeling some profess that “nothing has changed”, or that “Congress members unceasing thirst for personal wealth growth” is the real problem simply do not recognize how far out of the mainstream President Trump lies.  His pathological lying and senseless attacks on foreign allies are driving the US into that spot between a rock and a hard spot.  

Presidential leadership should be forward looking while assume the world is inherently unpredictable.  Great leaders prepare the country for unforeseen events while building the country’s capabilities.  Stealing from the future does not make America great, instead America is being hollowed out.

Great roads or bridges, if not maintained, will in time collapse.  Less wealthy countries left to their own devices will become nuisances, and often war with each other.  Income inequality is a natural event and without government’s soft touch, the economy will slow because the mass’ buying power becomes too little.  President Trump’s “friends”, however, thrive and prosper under these undesirable conditions.  Therefore, it should be no mystery why the President acts the he does.

In a large economy like the US, changes occur on the margins.  Consequently mainstream change occurs slowly and only after a period of time.  But once mainstream change begins, it will require even greater force to reverse the erosion, not just another Executive Order.  Cynics who overlook Trump’s destructive rule simply because they “see nothing has changed” are in for a surprise.  When the surprise arrives, cynics will wake up to real change and no good ideas on how to get back to the past.

Close To Greatness

July 14, 2017

Republicans are running the ship. The GOP controls the Presidency and both Houses of Congress. What more could any party want if they wished to leave their imprint upon America. Each day, however, Americans are observing a President and a Congress aim at greatness but suddenly swerve away, missing the mark by a mile.

  • The “Healthcare” train went off the tracks quickly. Instead of focusing on premium and drug costs, the GOP struck up the “repeal and replace” band only to find they possessed no consensus on “replace”. The one attempt at attacking cost was instead diverted to bait and switch. The GOP offered to sell “stripped down” policies, as if they were Obamacare quality, for lower price. That was their version of cost reduction. Would you buy a car with no passenger or back seat (just the open space) just because the price was slightly lower?
  • Even more obvious as a ripe target is the cost of prescription drugs. What other country in the world makes drugs and sells these patented compounds in other countries for less than they sell the exact same materials in the US? The GOP could have seemed genuinely interested in the well being of Americans had they not taken the “repeal and replace” course.
  • The “Tax Reform” train, on a different track, seems destine for a similar miss. Anyone who prepares their own taxes knows full well how complicated a reasonably straight forward process can be. But “tax reform” is political code for “tax cuts”. And if you are wondering how much you might realize, don’t waste your time, the GOP tax cuts are about those who don’t need them, the wealthy.
  • Infrastructure investment, like building roads, bridges, harbors, and airports, is a time proven method to improve productivity by modernizing shared means necessary for economic growth (read jobs). Infrastructure investment is also a popular method to just put people to work regardless of whether the work produces any economic return. Under certain circumstances, even just employing people can be a good thing.
  • Not, apparently, with this Administration. Infrastructure investment means privatization and transferring more wealth from tax payers to private investors.
  • Along these same lines, the growing crisis around student loan debt is viewed as another opportunity to use private enterprises to assist the financial needs of students seeking higher education… at a substantial profit.
  • If training skills and higher education are needed to make workers more employable and more productive, then why would government add a layer of profit from loan administrators? Why would government treat student loans differently in bankruptcy cases than if someone bought too much house or too many cars?

Americans may have been frustrated with these situations in 2016, and decided Hillary Clinton and the Democrats were not the route to fixing them, hence Donald Trump became the 4 5th President and the Republican Party got control of both Houses of Congress. With seven months of this new Administration, Americans instead are seeing “greatness” by-passed in favor of wealth transfer from the average American to the wealthiest Americans. Hmmm.

President Elect Donald J Trump

November 9, 2016

For many (but not enough), the unthinkable has happened. Donald Trump has won the 2016 Presidential election with a narrow but clear cut electoral college victory. Americans have spoken and their choice of Trump over Hillary Clinton was wide and broad based.

Along with President-elect Trump, the GOP kept control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The keys to the White House and the governance of Congress (and soon the Supreme Court) have passed to the Republican Party.

Pundits will spin this outcome for days, weeks and maybe months pinning the Democrat loss on this reason or that one. For many the dislike of Hillary Clinton was enough to vote for Trump. For others, the election was about the economy, it was simply not good enough for these voters, anything would be better. Another group saw Trump as anti-establishment and a change agent from the current status quo. Political pundits will fault the basic campaign strategy and criticize the decisions to under estimate the importance of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. And so on.

For centrists, especial those on both coast, their worst fears has been realized. The GOP which has specialized in gridlock and just saying “no” now possesses the reigns of government. The George W Bush years set a poor standard where a narrow victory lead him and his Administration to unbounded hubris, ultimately into a unnecessary failed Iraq War, and concluding with a near death of the world economy. President elect Trump deserves a chance to lead the country in more measured steps. Whether he does, remains to be seen.

President elect Trump’s victory has left an indelible mark in the ground. He has promised to make America Great Again. For the rust belt States that provided Trump the margin of victory, nothing short of a resurgence of good paying jobs will be enough. Were Trump and the GOP to somehow deliver on this promise, the Country and most citizens will be better for it. If, however, global realities on trade and foreign policies actually show that the past 7 years have been actually as good as global realities allow, then President elect Trump could be a one term President.

We must also not forget that a Clinton victory would not have been a bed of roses. Most all her pledges would have elicited strong opposition from the Republican controlled Congress. And, no one should be delusional and think Clinton would suddenly become open and transparent in her communications. Personally I was willing to accept these tradeoffs in exchange for a centrist to moderately left of center Supreme Court Justice.

Life sometimes seems unfair and President elect Trumps victory could be seem in that light. But Americans voted freely and the results elected Donald Trump. The future will take care of itself.

All Quiet On The US Election Front?

November 8, 2016

The voting has begun, counting will soon follow. Who will be the 45th President? In a few hours (following poll closings), we should learn.

At this time, there is no need for television ads and all the venom that seemed so normal for the past oh so many months. Regrettably, election day is not exempt from the enormously wasteful expenditure of campaign money. But tomorrow will be another day, somewhat like the quiet that comes with a snow storm, eerily the wait will be over and the next President will be known… for better or worse.

Most all the political forecasters predict the election is unlikely to repeat the closeness of George W Bush’s 2000 election. Most pollsters are predicting a Clinton victory and most probably with an electoral college margin about 5+ points higher than Trump’s. So why is there so much anxiety today?

Donald Trump has run an unconventional campaign and tapped into a large number of voters who often don’t vote.  The question on most people’s minds is how many voters will that be?

A Clinton victory, however, will represent the third time in a row where Republicans considered their proposition a sure winner for most Americans. And, the third time in a row where Americans said “no thinks” to the GOP offer. Why?

The Republican Party of 60’s, 70’s or 80’s is not the Republican Party of today. The Party is not the one which once boasted Dwight Eisenhower or even Ronald Reagan as its standard bearer. The GOP has sold its soul to small, ideologically different factions which individually represents views not held by a majority of Americans. These factions are demographically out of touch with Americans.

For example, “building a wall” may sound inviting to unemployed workers but will likely lose Donald Trump far more votes than he can afford. GOP Bible thumpers cheer when Donald Trump says he will close Planned Parenthood while the GOP Tea Party segment jump up and down at Trump’s promise of “huge” tax cuts. What will these subgroups do if Trump does not win?

A wiser GOP (compared to 2012) would once again do an autopsy on the 2016 results. The study will most likely conclude (again) that alienating women, gays, Blacks, and Hispanics was not a good strategy for a national election.

And an even wiser strategy might emerge if the GOP remembered that Americans have a special spot in their hearts for “fairness”. Just saying “no” is transparently unfair to all Americans, even though to certain Republican segments, saying “no” is well appreciated.

What the GOP needs to recognize is that Democrats occupy the demographic high ground and will continue to win if Republicans insist upon replaying the same old game the same way.

Ironically, Donald Trump’s nomination is a wake up call in itself for the GOP. This Pied Piper blew through 16 other traditional GOP candidates in the primaries by picking and choosing which part of the GOP he wished to attract. His opponents were either too bland, too wedded to a certain faction, or just too small in comparison to Trump’s oversized persona.

Trump’s voting coalition also has a demographic handicap.  The GOP’s weakness may have been compounded by Trump with his denigration of this group or that one.  (Trump may have seen this behavior differently because his strongest supporters cheered.)

Sadly, Democrats do not possess all the best answers to today’s problems. But current GOP strategies and policies make it possible for Democrats to win the Presidency. Competition makes organizations improve and continuing to contest the Presidency with an unwinnable platform does no one any good.

And surprise, surprise, a sharper GOP would inevitably spur a sharper Democrat Party to become more relevant and serve America better.
Wise Republicans will be thinking about this even during the relative peace that follows election day. Whether thinking will lead to change actions is another question. Time will tell.

Hillary’s Last Message

November 7, 2016

In the 2016 Presidential Campaign’s final days, what more can be said? Hillary Clinton must be thinking “how many more times must I say Donald Trump is unfit to be President”? Donald Trump must be thinking “If I keep calling Hillary Clinton a criminal, her supporters will become even more disenchanted”. The public is exhausted and might wish for the campaign to end immediately if that could be possible. Well, tomorrow is the day, voting day. Hmmm.

Regrettably Clinton has become synonymous with the “establishment” and “status quo”. For many voters this experience does not inspire. Add to this the negatives on emails and the hill to an election victory gets steeper. What could Hillary do?

How about a positive closing statement? How about a call for unity and a pledge about what she would do to provide common ground if fortunate to win the Presidency. This type of statement would certainly look and sound “Presidential”. But it might do even more.

Her words could remind Americans, without specifically saying it that since 2008, the Republican Party has been the party of “no”. The GOP’s first goal of making President Obama a one term President and even though the GOP failed, it was not for lack of effort. In 2012, Mitt Romney lead the charge to displace President Obama and failed. Republican leaders had the gall to say the Country had not given the President a mandate and offered as proof the number of Congressional Republican members. Lost in this argument, of course, is Congress is elected on the basis of “gerrymandered” districts and Presidents are elected on the basis of national votes, one person, one vote.

And just this year, Mitch McConnell refused to consider Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland on the basis that “the next President needed to decide”. McConnell’s words did not fool anyone. The GOP was not about to cooperate at all with Democrats. And why should we expect 2017 to be different?

Hillary would do well in her closing remarks to remind Americans of what is missing in Washington, DC these days, without whining. Do the opposite and say she is optimistic and will take the first steps to bring about bi-partisan cooperation.

According to pundits, the election will be close, and unbelievably could tilt to Donald Trump. While Donald Trump is running as a “Republican”, his proposals contain many actions which elements of the GOP are dead against. He, too, will face an obstinate Congress and bi-partisanship will be one challenge too far.

So, in the end, voters will need to choose between someone who acts “Presidential” and promise to work with the opposition party, and someone else who promises to “fix” everything himself because he knows better. Anyone who takes the time to think about this choice must see that Clinton is President material and Trump is not.

Hillary needs to make her last message about willingness to work with everyone for everyone.

Promises Have Consequences

November 4, 2016

Donald Trump has promised “big time” tax cuts, the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, a get tough policy with China, renegotiation of major trade treaties, a massive investment in the infrastructure, new wall between Mexico and the US, and a return of previously outsourced jobs, including steel and coal jobs. There are many who like these positions and will vote for Trump thinking the Donald will produce. I wonder whether they ever thought “will he/she love me in the morning”?

My guess is that Trump really doesn’t worry about keeping these promises, even if he gets elected. He will simply make up some new promises while claiming he never promised anything in the first place. But what might happen if Trump actually tries to fulfill his campaign pledges?

Were Congress to pass a “big time” tax cut, Congress would be immediately confronted with an exploding deficit. The Federal Debt would have to expand to cover the tax shortfall. Trump is a businessman and no stranger to debt and even bankruptcy would remain relaxed.

The more fiscally conservative Republicans, however, would go apoplectic.

These conservative budget hawks would demand immediate budget cuts and target entitlements along with defense spending. Defense cuts, however, would put the fear of god into other Republicans especially the neoconservative crowd. These patriots would agree to entitlement cuts but cutting defense is a non-starter for them. So much for party unity.

But what about the infrastructure and all the new jobs it would bring, or the Mexican wall and all the immigrants it would keep out, and what about the buses, trains, and federal agents necessary to deport the 11 million undocumented aliens? These might have to wait.

About this time, Ford, General Motors, GE, and dozens of other companies will announce they are unable to bring back outsourced jobs for competitive reasons, even if President Trump does cut their corporate income tax. And by the way, in order to remain competitive, more jobs might be teed up to go overseas… for competitive reasons.

Oh, and repealing Obamacare will bring with it some significant political damage when most Americans find out that their insurance costs are not going to decrease. (Do you remember the US healthcare delivery program before Obamacare?  The previous program experienced annual increases two or more times the rate of inflation.  So why should we expect cost to suddenly decrease?)

Insurance companies will say “no, thank you” to picking up the extra cost for “pre-existing conditions” and “no limits on total payouts”. Insurance companies will balk at covering dependents under 26 years of age too. And when President Trump asks States to pick up more Medicaid costs, they will not so politely say no.

And, those “low cost” policies sold across State borders, we’ve heard so much about, will come more into focus. They will protect the insured for just what they are written to do and no more. These bargain policies will come with huge deductibles and co-pays or very narrow coverage, or both.  Those wanting broader coverage will need to get the check book out again.

By this time, Trump will realize it was so much easier running for office than actual being President. Who will he blame then?