Archive for the ‘jeb bush’ category

And Now There Are 5

February 22, 2016

On Saturday, South Carolina spoke GOP. When the vote count was complete, Donald Trump had won and Rubio/Cruz had finished 2/3. While the spin masters labored trying to make each finish a win, one candidates stepped back. John Ellis (Jeb) Bush suspended his candidacy and for a moment sounded like a President.

Jeb never really had a chance. Bush’s candidacy was about a fictional great Governor, a relative of two former Presidents and someone who could talk like a president or world diplomat. Jeb was about an idealized person just waiting to be recognized and nominated. Hmmm.

Bush’s campaign spent over $100 million and never got an enthusiastic following. In hind sight, Bush and his advisors never saw opponents coming who would run crude, “tell it like it is (even if it is only half true)”, “ I’m not connected to Washington” type, no holds barred campaign. Bush had no message other than “I’m Jeb” and simply got blown away.  Jeb had no Karl Rove to do his thinking.

Jeb’s campaign suspension does not just reflect that Bush was the sixth best candidate but in a game of resources, more to the point, Bush ran out of money and reasons to convince backers they should reach deeper into their pockets to bank roll him further. Without money there is no campaign. Hmmm.

The GOP is still staring at almost certain defeat unless they radically change their platform and drop the wedge issues they have used during the primary season. It will not be enough to say “Washington is broken” (which of course it is) and expect to win in November. The GOP nominee will need to explain how he will fix Washington, what it will cost, and how will he pay for it.

The GOP candidate will also be unlikely to escape grillings on immigration (Hispanic vote), family planning (women’s vote), gender equality (gay and women’s vote), and the traditional third rails, Social Security and Medicare (the senior vote). Of those remaining, Trump, Rubio, Cruz, Kasich, and Carson, which one could handle these issues best?

There is a remote possibility that the GOP convention will arrive with no clear winner. All bets are open whether is such a case, a second look at Jeb Bush might not seem the least of poor options. And then, of course, there is a rerun of Mitt Romney. Hmmm.

The Quadrennial Republican Lemming March?

February 19, 2016

The 2016 GOP Presidential primary appears strangely similar to mythical death march of the lemmings. In 2012, the GOP staged a lengthy circular shooting contest until Mitt Romney emerged, seriously wounded, yet still with a general election ahead of him. Each of the GOP candidates had picked one more extreme position than the other to prove that they were the unquestionable conservative.

Romney, despite his flawed strategy (bearing hard to the right for primary voters before attempting to slip to the middle for the general election), was at his core a serious and competent candidate. In the 2016, it is hard to pick the Mitt Romney from the field likely to be left standing.

One would probably pick Jeb Bush and John Kasich as Romneyesque. Both were/are governors and speak in measured ways. Both are broadly experienced and in comparison to the rest of the GOP field, are moderate Republicans (despite their protestation other wise). And, both are at best long shot candidates, currently garnering less than 20% of the vote combined. Hmmm.
One must wonder whether this apparent GOP dysfunction comes from the candidates who choose to run, or from the nature of the voters who make up the deciding faction of the GOP primaries. In short, are the candidates crazies or are the GOP voters the crazies who attract crazy candidates?

The handle “crazy” is probably not apt. The GOP candidates are quite sane and calculating politicians. They are dead set on gaining the nomination and going on to become President. The unknown is whether each of the candidates really subscribes to the “crazy” (extreme) policies they propose, or are their statements simply bait to appease and attract certain voters who claim to be Republican, Tea Party, or Libertarian? Each candidate’s goal is the GOP nomination, and it appears each is each willing to say whatever it takes to obtain it?

For example, the candidates have each echoed the following ideas:

  • No new taxes and a reduction in marginal rates (gift to the already wealthy)
  • Balance the budget and begin reducing the national debt (no plan, lots of assumptions)
  • Repeal of the Affordable Care Act (with no plan to replace and no commitment to basic healthcare for everyone)
  • Larger military through an increased Defense budget (no new taxes so where does funding come from)
  • Foreign policy where when America speaks, others listen and do what the US says (This anachronistic notion may have never existed but in any case is totally detached from reality in today’s world)
  • Stronger economy with more job creation (with no supporting comprehensive plan or funding proposal)
  • Defense of traditional religious values (providing those values are christian, ignoring the Constitution is acceptable)
  • Sealing the Mexican boarder (while ignoring the 11 million undocumented aliens already in the US)
  • Denying the resettlement of refugees if the State Governor decides to not accept them (even though the issues of immigrants and refugees are a clearly defined Federal responsibility)

If one of the leading candidates (Trump, Cruz, or Rubio) proposes to take drastic steps versus one of these issues, the others in quick succession promise to do the same or even much more. The lemmings are nearing the cliff edge.

Many congressional GOP members are speaking out on these same issues and demanding that Americans’ voices be heard. The Antonin Scalia replacement controversy is a telling example where GOP congressional members say the appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice should wait until the “American people” have spoken at the next election. What American people are they talking about? Did Americans not speak in 2012 and elect a President for a four year term?

The GOP primary behavior (not to mention many in Congress) is very worrisome. They are preaching a brand of politics much like a quack medicine man. Their proposals promise a better life but fail the tests of logic and history. Whether its “take back America” or “make America great again”, these salesmen have a bag with nothing inside. Watch out, don’t get to close to the cliff’s edge when these lemmings (or better yet, charlatans) go over the edge.

New Hampshire’s Messages

February 11, 2016

The New Hampshire primary is in the books. Here are the messages the candidates left.

  • Bernie Sanders – Bernie’s huuuugh message was about a set of government services, now routine in most other modern countries and what many Americans feel appropriate when they see the American dream as a thing of the past. Universal healthcare, public education through college, and affordable housing. In Bernie’s democratic socialism world, income inequality will be reduced and abuses of Wall Street firms lassoed. Sander’s message, I believe in fairness so voters can trust me in all other Presidential dealings.
  • Hillary Clinton – Hillary has an experience and gender based message. Hillary reminds voters she would be the first woman President and as a former Senator and Secretary of State, she knows government as well as foreign leaders. Hillary says trust me, vote for me.
  • Donald Trump – Donald continues to tell whom ever will listen that he is the smartest person in the room. He has fixed every obstacle he has encountered already and can fix anything in the future. And although his speeches have at times been crude, once he is President he is smart enough to speak properly. Trump offers himself as voters’ security blanket against all the world’s ills while he makes American great again.
  • John Kasich – John offers a far more nuanced world view. He offers his private and public sector experience coupled with his “big hearted” scrappy demeanor as the right combination for the next President. Kasich tell voters that his experience as a Governor makes him uniquely qualified to “straighten out Washington”.
  • Ted Cruz – Looking down his nose at the camera, Cruz speaks knowingly, without evidence, that he is the one candidate who can “take American back” for the people. Ted conducted a “below the radar screen” campaign in New Hampshire and captured 12% of the vote. Cruz is one of the “I’m against anything President Obama is for” people and oh, by the way, I’m also a god’s friend candidates.
  • Jeb Bush – Jeb wants voters to know he is the “adult” in the room, not to mention the most civilized. His 11% of the vote was an indicator Jeb says of his viability. Hmmm.
  • Marco Rubio – Marco stumbled in New Hampshire he would admit. An unfortunate five minutes of the debate Rubio says. Hmmm. Marco says his time on the Senate foreign relations committee makes him the most experienced GOP candidate. Rubio’s good looks, youthful appearance, and confident manner are voters take aways even though Marco received only 11% of the vote.
  • Ben Carson – Snooze (at 2%).

The Democrat primary results underscores the difference between the heart and the mind. Bernie is way ahead in attracting voters’s hearts based upon what they hope would be the case. Hillary’s “you should recognize I am the most qualified” approach is feeling flat compared to the excitement of Sanders’ message.

The GOP primary outcomes are totally inconclusive. There is no obvious winner even when the list is hypothetically narrowed. If Rubio, Bush, or Kasich withdrew, it is unlikely their supporters would naturally gravitate easily to Trump or Cruz, and vice versa. The GOP race remains a mystery.

Iowa, Oh, Iowa

February 2, 2016

The Iowa caucuses have come and gone. The results provided the last nail in Martin O’Malley and Mike Huckabee’s campaigns and both suspended their efforts. For the rest, the race continues.  Who were the winners and the losers?

Ted Cruze appears the nominal Republican winner, and was quick to tell everyone that. Donald Trump actually came close to the closing poll numbers but a strong close by Cruze left Trump in second. Marco Rubio got his desired “strong third place” finish and spoke as if the nomination was practically in reach.

The top three finishers captured about 3/4ths of the votes and adding the 9% for Carson, everyone else was a loser, at least as Iowa stands.

On the Democrat side, for all intense purposes, the caucuses produced a tie. Clinton may have won by a few votes and may have snagged the delegate lead but the win was far from convincing. Bernie Sanders appealed broadly to the under thirty crowd, even though he was the oldest candidate in both parties.

Pundits will spin these results for days (until New Hampshire next Tuesday). For the GOP, evangelicals who voted for Cruz and Carson, will come to realize this segment does not reflect a national cross section.  More importantly, no GOP candidate received more than 28% of the vote, hardly a mandate for any of the positions each candidate has outlined.

The strength of Sanders, however, should send a strong message to both parties. Younger voters see the critical issues facing America differently than the “established” Washington politicians. Universal healthcare, college education without huge debt, and tighter Wall Street controls are issues of “fairness”. In the riches country on earth, instead of fairness, younger voters hear the watch words “American Dream is yours if you can afford it”.

(Regrettably, how to pay for healthcare and college education, or what might be the consequences of tighter Wall Street controls has largely been left unsaid.)

Sanders compact with younger voters is more than just about fairness. Sanders speaks “genuine” also. You may not like what he is saying but you are clear his message is un-nuanced.

In the greater picture, Iowa is a small State not representative of the country as a whole. Cruz’ victory is most likely meaningless on the larger US scale. For New Hampshire, Cruz is a cypher. The curious questions will involve Trump, Rubio, Bush, Kasich, and Christie.  Will any of these candidates begin the trek back toward the center?

For Clinton, it will be all about adjusting expectations and trying to lose by less than current poll numbers suggest. Hillary must not forget that her candidacy is about breadth, depth, and experience. She should do well with women and immigrants along with rank and file Democrats (once she defeats Sanders). It is not time for Clinton to change colors again like a chameleon.

Icarus The Trump

January 19, 2016

It will be a sad day in many a media executive offices when Donald Trump finally flies to close to the sun. Yesterday, he came close while performing a public service. Trump spoke at a mandatory convocation at Liberty University (a Evangelical Christian university founded by Jerry Falwell).

The public service was probably unintended. Trump gave a fairly standard version of his stump speech to a cheering group of students. The casual observer quickly got to see just how close to christian values these bright young students seemed to be. Not so close.

Trump’s poll numbers still show no signs of exhaustion while his competitors all appear to have peaked. Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, and even Ted Cruz appear to be losing ground to the Donald. Media’s last hope is a rebirth of Jeb Bush’s campaign but Jeb is stuck in single digit poll numbers. Hmmm.

If one listens to Trump’s rhetoric, one can imagine a candidate running (or flying) as fast as possible, so fast that his words can not catch up to him. Polls still show that Trump could win the GOP nomination and most likely get thrashed in the general election. Why? Trump has gained his following by marginalizing so many general election voters that his opponent will have an almost insurmountable lead.

But the main issue for Trump is can he keep from self distrusting long enough to gain the GOP nod?

There are no indications that Trump has another gear. He seems to be in fourth gear and his foot is on the pedal. Sooner or later, while racing at full speed, Trump will need to introduce something new. Trump will need to say something more outrageous (headline grabbing) so that he can keep his current supporters and gain just enough more to claim the nomination. This is where the danger zone lies for the Donald.

Like Icarus, Donald is the son of a successful father and in his own way has been a successful business man himself. Sporting wings of feathers and wax, Donald has soared in the GOP primary just like Icarus. Also, just like Icarus, Trump may lose sight of his objective and soar to close to the sun. The rest will be the same as the fate of Herman Cain.

IMO, a President Trump will not be as wise or effective as Trump now promises. His Presidency will also most likely not turn out to be a bad as many predict. It would certainly be entertaining.

So if Icarus the Trump can keep his mind on winning the primary and not flying as high as his feathers and wax will take him, America may get to learn whether Icarus the Trump can lead.

Merry Christmas Donald

December 21, 2015

The big question ending 2015 and going into 2016 might be, “is Donald Trump clever enough to snatch the GOP nomination and become the outsider nominee”? Is Trump clever, observant, ruthless, or possibly asymmetric enough to win a primary contest for which he has no qualifications. Hmmm.

Trump has combined crowd appealing rhetoric where he has attacked one minority after another and in doing so connected with a fear or prejudice within the GOP electorate (and maybe wider than that). His comments have been dubbed “politically incorrect” by his opponents. This epitaph, his opponents are beginning to realize only delight Trump supporters even more.

It is particularly obvious in Jeb Bush’s personal attacks on the Donald. Bush’s comments are having no impact on Trump’s ratings and instead reinforcing the public’s perception that Jeb is a light weight in this contest. Hmmm.

Now Trump is welcoming his town meeting attendees with a warm “merry Christmas” and then wondering out loud why we don’t hear “Merry Christmas”. Most public spaces have moved to “happy holidays” which is more accommodating to other non-christian faiths. Trump has once again struck at a potential third rail without hurting himself. Hmmm.

Trump’s strategy remains high risk and it is still possible that he may step over the line and begin to turn his supporters against him. But if experience to date is any measure, it is going to take a pretty huge gaff to upset his apple cart.

At the beginning of the primary process, the GOP big wigs boasted about what a high quality field of candidates they had this time around. What Trump’s campaign tactics are showing is that the GOP field is cluttered with unready, unprepared, and/or unwanted candidates. As each candidate approaches Trump’s number one position, the glare of the public spotlight shows that candidate as less than Presidential timber.

The most amazing aspect of Trump’s surge is that the general GOP platform has not come into play yet. So, foreign policy, healthcare, path to citizenship (comprehensive immigration reform), tax breaks for the wealthy, and the laundry list of anti-women policies have not influenced primary voters. All this lies ahead in the general election.  It shouldn’t surprise anyone should Trump water down or outrightly disavow any of these far right proposals in the general election.

So, it is a warm “Merry Christmas” to Donald Trump and thanks for an entertaining fall season. Democrats, particularly Hillary Clinton, should, in the privacy of their homes, break out the bubbly and welcome the holidays and the new year with a very optimistic outlook for next November.  Come January, however, Hillary had better keep her eyes open because Donald may not be going away.

Vetting A Presidential Nominee

November 24, 2015

Watching the Republican Presidential nominating process unfold has been a lesson in fund raising, possessing the “right stuff”, and standing up to public vetting.  The GOP hopefuls list which began at nearly two dozen is slowly dwindling but the serious list (those with a chance) still remains close to 10.

Who will prevail and how long will it take?

Most everyone has been amazed at the success to date of non-politicians Donald Trump and Ben Carson. For a few weeks these two “outsiders” garnered over 50% of the polls. Trump still is hanging in at around 30% while Carson has fallen back to the high teens.

Carson’s recent drop in the polls highlights the amazing aspect of his prior success. Carson has no idea about foreign policy or current events. The Paris attack, ISIS and Syrian refugee issue, when vetted in the public forum, has shown he is not ready for prime time.  He would be a dangerous choice for Vice President since he appears to lack even the remotest background in diplomacy and world events.

Donald Trump is a quite different story. He has offered some of the most outlandish proposals on immigration, 9/11, taxes, and refugees and still is standing tall in the polls.  Trump seems to have offered a segment of voters someone who “says it as it is”, at least in their minds.

Anti-immigration, xenophobia, and gigantic tax cut promises have boosted Trump’s support even though his specific claims or proposals are patently unfounded. But 30% of the maybe 30% card carrying GOP base in a national election is not enough to win. Hmmm.

While Trump and Carson occupy the top positions, gradually Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasick are rising. This trio still are not a numeric challenge to Trump but are making life pretty rough on Jeb Bush and Carli Fiorina. The rest, Chris Christy, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, George Pataki, and Lindsay Graham have absolutely no chance and must be staying in hoping to get a VP nod.

The Primary race has been marked by pledges and promises which cannot reasonably be believed. No candidate is immune to the urge to say things which in hours are shown unfounded or unattainable. With the exception of Donald Trump, each candidate who has put forward some policy position crafted to appeal to the right, has lost a point or two in the polling standings. If things continue on the same path, by February or March, it should be clear that none of the current candidates has enough support to win in the general election even if they can secure the GOP nomination.

There is one unannounced candidate, however, who does poll well and would make a formidable candidate. That person is Mitt Romney.

Recent national polls show Mitt as by far and away the choice of Republican voters and a solid candidate against Hillary Clinton. If Mitt can stay patient, he could get the nomination without having to announce he is “severely conservative” again.

As time passes, the GOP should recognize in an election where less than a third of voters are true GOP believers (same percent holds for Democrats),  that unless the GOP offers a sane, responsible alternative, the mass of independent voters will side with Democrats and again keep the GOP out of the White House.

For my money, Mitt is by far the best choice if there must be a GOP President.

What Should Jeb Do?

October 25, 2015

If there have been any questions about Jeb Bush’s view of his right to become President, these doubts should be vanishing. Bush entered the race as the presumptive nominee, someone who just had to act Presidential, raise a lot of money, and wait until crowned at the convention. At the time this did not seem that unusual given the declared and rumored potential candidates. Oh, how differently it has turned out.

Bush like Scott Walker hired expensive staffs and set up elaborate fund raising apparatus (which also cost a lot of money) and went to work creating policy positions. Bush chose to distinguish himself by telling anyone who would listen, “I’m the only true conservative in the field”. Hmmm, what does that mean?

The “most conservative label” appeals only to a precious few and has a lasting value of just the Republican primary. In the general election, it is more about specific policies on specific issues. A “real conservative” position on women’s rights, gay issues, immigration reform, taxes, healthcare, Social Security, and the wide list of entitlements will drive the election outcome.

As Bush has rolled out his policy positions, it should be clear that Jeb has set up a losing hand.

Beyond the policy substance, Jeb has been confounded by the apparent appeal of Donald Trump and Ben Carson, both of whom have not bothered to speak definitively about policy. Both candidates have caught the eye of early GOP voters and have left Jeb in their dust. Bush seems genuinely disgusted with the popular response and acts as if he thinks the electorate is too dumb to recognize that he is the better candidate (if not the only legitimate one).

So what should Jeb do now that he is running out of money and must reduce his staff?

Of all the “missing the moment” things Jeb could do, he has picked probably the most tone deaf one, he is meeting this weekend with his Mom and Dad and brother George W to discuss next moves. Would Donald Trump do that? Would Ben Carson do that? What would a President Jeb Bush do in a national crisis? Hmmm.

The most cost efficient step would be for Jeb to abandon his run and give back any residual funds to his supporters. Jeb Bush has a losing policy platform and a persona completely out of line with the electorate. Why waste time and money?

If Mom and Dad, and “W” were to provide advice, other than retiring, it might be to keep his head down and his mouth shut. Trump and Carson have no credentials to become President and sooner or later will be shown to be paper thin on policies. That’s 50% of the vote. As these candidates fade, others will rise. The only long shot position for Jeb is to appear, among the others, the best option in a wounded field.

This means Jeb needs to dial back his “I know it all” policy making positions and if cornered, boast about his experience (Governor), his maturity (his age), and stability (family centered values). And then Jeb should cross his fingers and hope that Carly Fiorina fades faster, that Marco Rubio stumbles under the pressure of almost winning, and John Kasich just doesn’t connect.

In my opinion, Marco Rubio and John Kasich are the two most likely nominees. Rubio will sell his energy and relative younger age while Kasich will lean on his wider experience than Bush and his much more forceful presence.

This weekend, Jeb will probably mumble, “you were right Mom, I shouldn’t have run.”

When Adults Gather

October 14, 2015

Last night in Las Vegas, Democrat candidates for their party’s Presidential nomination gathered for a TV “debate”. The group acted professionally and Presidential. Allowing for the fact that it was a “made for TV” event, the candidates spoke of real problems facing the US, and for the most part offered real solutions. OK, maybe not solutions, but at least policies which could ameliorate or lessen the social problems.

In stark contrast, the previous GOP debates displayed one candidate after another speaking to non-issues (or at least issues way down the list in importance) and pandering to subjects dear to extreme elements on the conservative right. Much of the media has pointed to Donald Trump as the instigator of most of the Republican inflammatory rhetoric but under inspection, none of the GOP candidates seems to have a handle on the big issues facing the Country and proposing policies which have a chance of being implemented.  To be fair, the GOP candidates all endorsed a wall with Mexico but differed on how high and how long it might be.  Hmmm.

Not waiting for the next GOP debate, Jeb Bush shared his healthcare plan yesterday. Not surprisingly the plan solves problems that do not exist, leaves deficiencies unaddressed, and opens more questions on how Bush’s proposals would be financed.  in practical terms, unanswered financing questions is a place holder for subsequent service cuts that “we can not afford”.

Bush’s professorial speech was pretty much what one would expect for a plan which begins with “repeal Obamacare and start over”. Healthcare is complicated stuff and unless one is clear about key assumptions, (which were absent in Bush’s speech) the policy house of cards built upon these assumptions will possess glaring holes.

Bush’s plan, while dressed up to appear new, is a rehash of previous GOP “repeal and replace” proposals.

  • Medicaid would be capped and replaced with block grants to States who intern would cater to as many of the poor as that State felt appropriate. Read this proposal as “under Bush, the US will reduce coverage to those who can’t afford healthcare insurance and reduce the number covered.
  • For those purchasing insurance or receiving it from employers, Bush would eliminate any requirements for “basic” coverage which would allow individuals to buy bargain priced policies with poor coverage limits and employers the opportunity to offer as little coverage as they can get away with.
  • Bush would also eliminate individual and employer mandates. This would allow both individuals and employers to game the system by not participating in insurance pools until an individual needs coverage (like becoming ill or injured). Bush claims his plan would reduce healthcare costs but neither cites how much would be saved or how key elements of his plan would be paid for.

Jeb Bush also avoided mentioning key assumptions and obvious contradictions.

  • Why for example should one person receive better healthcare coverage than someone else? The age old GOP answer is because they can afford better coverage. Hmmm.
  • Bush was silent on why it is ethical for a poor person in New York to receive different healthcare (either more or less) than a similarly poor person living in Iowa or Texas.
  • Bush also did not address what safety net would exist for individuals who did not receive healthcare from employment and could not afford “basic” coverage policies.   With Bush’s proposed tax credits, in theory, individuals could obtain stripped down coverage.

Obamacare, which is simply a tweak of what came before it, is based upon the two assumptions. (1) Healthcare is not free and must be paid for.  And, (2) basic healthcare is a right for everyone.  Never the less Obamacare still many weaknesses.

Overall cost is probably the most obvious one. Individuals and employers feel the brunt of the highest healthcare costs in the world (two times other modern countries). This straps the average consumer with a hit to their disposable income, and walks employers with higher costs of doing business.

Universal healthcare plans similar to those in Japan, Canada, and Europe could reduce the cost of equivalent or better healthcare by one half (50%). There are no free lunches so this cost reduction must come from less money flowing to hospitals (and their staffs), doctors, and drug/medical device companies. Improved efficiencies could mitigate some of the impact upon compensation for these healthcare providers (providing more service for the same amount).  Unfortunately, mathematically there would still need to be significant compensation reductions in order to achieve world class standards.

Jeb Bush tried to claim cost savings but his only savings were tied to reduced healthcare availability. Shameful.

Capturing world class healthcare cost savings opportunities will need a comprehensive plan and be phased in over time (to avoid open revolt with healthcare providers). Dancing around the edges, as Jeb Bush has done, will become very transparent if he should try to build his campaign around this issue.

Maybe for now, it is simply to gain GOP primary voters’ attention (at any cost).

What Do You Say When What You Have Said Is Wrong?

October 9, 2015

The GOP Presidential Nomination Parade is teaching young Americans (and anyone else willing to listen) what to do when you make public statements which are either wrong or offensive to some. The GOP is not plowing new ground but never the less it is fascinating to see how the front running candidates (for the highest office in the land) are handling these situations.

Normally, when one makes a public statement which evokes a public reaction, like “I take exception to your claim all men are dogs”, there are three standard reactions.

  • First, “I stand by my words and in fact, I know many men who are worse than dogs”.
  • Second, “I was quoted out of context, why some of my best friends are dogs (or men) The media is against my campaign and is just making up this story”.
  • Third, I am evolving on that subject and now think that dogs are man’s best friend so actually I am trying to make a compliment.

Donald Trump has written the definitive book on doubling down. Trump adds no new information but simply huffs and puffs and speaks ever louder making the same claims. Most of the media are trained to ask once and then move on to another topic since all they are interested in are “sound bites”. This often provides Trump with a pass.

Ben Carson aspires to lead the second group. He has recently made statements recommending that hostages charge shooters (their captors) who are about to commit mass killings. This has been perceived as transferring the blame from the killer to those subject to being killed. Carson also said that if German Jews had been armed, the Holocaust might not have taken place. I wonder whether Carson knows about Hitler’s military strength displayed in the Spanish Civil War?

Both Trump and Carson, despite their personal views, were pandering for xenophobes and gun advocates.

The third approach is the most practiced and can be characterized as “cutting ones losses” and “you can be sure I will never say that again… publicly” Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and most other traditional politicians prefer this approach. They are trained to move to a new topic as quickly as possible.

Interestingly, American voters seems attracted to type one and two. Voters are seeking individuals who say what they mean and mean what they say. In other words, candidates who appear genuine. This is very understandable when you consider the wishy-washy Congressional double speak we hear incessantly.

There is one problem, however.

The Country also needs candidates who know right from wrong (use of facts and data) and, once the dust settles, can be inclusive in building national concurrence. With Trump, there is a somewhat “lovable” aspect to his bravado. Trump says unkind things but somehow with the twinkle in his eye, the listener thinks “well he isn’t that bad”. Carson who speaks so softly and absent any hint of rage is stealthy in his communications.

Neither of these candidates, IMO, are of Presidential timber. Carson, however, is far more worrisome if the unexpected were to happen and he were to become President Carson. As a technically trained individual, to be comfortable with opinions not supported by facts, poses a huge risk as commander in chief.

The third category, “the I’m evolving” group are much more difficult to understand. For example, the amazingly swift evolution of American public opinion around the GLBT community has outpaced the public rhetoric of politicians. Cutting slack for politicians who have previously spoken out against homosexuality, one wonders did that candidate mean it before, is his changed position now genuine?

But thinking broader, what did these politician say about invading Iraq, comprehensive immigration reform, healthcare for all (Obamacare), or gun controls?


The 2016 Election cycle appears poised to bring us both a candidate and the answer to the question, “ What Do You Say When What You Have Said Is Wrong? “