Archive for the ‘john kasich’ category

And Then There Was One

May 5, 2016

John Kasich bowed out of the GOP Presidential primary yesterday leaving Donald Trump as the last man standing. Whether one views the primary as theater or marital arts, the whittling of 17 candidates down to one was both grand theater and martial arts.

Trump used bully and narcissistic tactics devastatingly well to achieve the nomination, or at least standing at the edge of it. America likes winners, will Americans like Trump?

The GOP is reacting in strange ways. Some GOP members are rushing to find a seat on the Trump express, hoping it is not to late. Others are doubling down on their “Trump – no way”, but what options do they have.

In a few of the anti-Trump GOP members’ statements, one can get a sense of what the Republican problem is. They see Trump as someone who does not embrace the GOP platform ideologically. Trump is soft on social issues and has a more populous view on the economy, like erecting trade barriers and keeping entitlements. The GOP does not appear to understand that their platform which has traditionally included anti-gay, anti-woman, and anti-Mexican planks just does not reflect where a majority of Americans are now, and where they are trending. Instead of embracing Trump and taking advantage of his bold steps (using it as cover so as not to offend evangelicals and fundamentalists), many GOP members appear paralyzed.

For much of the primary campaign, John Kasich appeared to be the adult in the room. Kasich on paper was probably the most experienced candidate to be President. His withdrawal yesterday made one wonder about that thought.

Kasich suspended his campaign almost whining that he still had faith god would guide him to the path that would give purpose to his life. What?

Doesn’t Kasich remember that the last Republican President asked god about whether American should invade and occupy Iraq, and after receiving an affirmative answer, led American into a disastrous bloody conflict which has destabilized the Middle East.

Speaking of god on the campaign trail is usually a self serving statement. In Kasich case, it was probably genuine but totally out of place. (Why would a supreme being choose to guide one candidate when doing so would disadvantage another?)

The GOP primary will be studied and provide the source for many a pundit’s book. The general election will be another book and until its over it can’t be written.

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Acela Has Spoken

April 27, 2016

Tuesday’s primaries along the Acela train route have confirmed, at least for the Northeast, the two Presidential candidates which Democrats and Republicans prefer. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump won by impressive margins and with the wins, piled up delegate vote leads which make their ultimate selections as presumptive. And both candidates seem genuinely pleased to run against the other.

If there remain pockets among the GOP elite who cannot accept Trump, time is getting short. Trump’s oppositions finds itself in a pickle. Ted Cruz is absolutely unelectable nationally and John Kasich seems unable to gain any traction despite not being disdained.

So to hijack Trump’s nomination in a contested convention will spell disaster for the GOP slate come November. Trump may not appeal to a majority of all voters but he does have enough stalwart support among Republicans (and some cross over Democrats) that the perception of the nomination haven been stolen will significantly reduce Republican turn out on election day.

Hillary has morphed her campaign from a coronation to a grind it out, traditional battle. She has cleverly evolved and in some cases revamped her campaign policies to narrow the differences between her and Bernie Sanders without sacrificing a more centrist position for the general election.

Sanders has his same campaign lines, once seen as original and motivational, and now appear somewhat flat.  He seems to be running out of gas. The stage is almost set.

To be sure, the Northeast, does not speak for America. Our Country is broader and more varied. Never the less certain demographics came forward in 2008 and 2012 and should be expected to hold again in 2016. Women’s rights, immigration, religious tolerance (acceptance of the LBGT community) will once again tilt the vote in favor of Democrats… simply because the GOP will choose a Platform emphasizing the opposite.

GOP positions on tax cuts, ending Obamacare, and reducing entitlements will be equivalent to shooting themselves in the foot. Further, comparing Hillary Clinton to President Obama will backfire too. There simply is no evidence that any of the “just say no” GOP rhetoric of the past 8 years has been based upon sound thinking. In fact, the GOP statements have been 100% wrong.

What should not be lost by either party is that the next 4 or 8 years may not be anything like the past, and may require new policies and resource deployment. There is no reason to believe at this point that Hillary Clinton would be better at operating under new conditions than Donald Trump.  Will the GOP make the case that the next four years will be significantly different from the past?

Voters will be left with the issues and policies which both parties present. In this sense, Donald Trump represents a genuine risk to Clinton. Trump, who has voiced some shallow thinking policies could flamboyantly walk away from anything he has already said in the primaries as if they didn’t count.  And there is little doubt Trump will relish trash talking about Hillary (and Bill). Maybe something will stick.

Voters will undoubtably see Hillary as the only adult in the room but if there wasn’t a chance for Trump, there would be no horse races.

What’s So Bad About Trump?

March 1, 2016

The news media is aghast over the possibility that the GOP nominee might be Donald Trump. Almost breathlessly the media is reporting a panicked GOP establishment considering all sorts of countermeasures should Trump actual get the nomination by the rules currently in play. Changing the rules? Hmmm, like 2000 once more?

Without much doubt Donald Trump does not seem very Presidential, unless one is thinking about a third world country. On the other hand, does the GOP establishment think that Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio are heads and shoulders better? Or does the GOP think John Kasich and Ben Carson, both of whom have not warmed the hearts of establishment GOP types, are the ones to turn too?

So what’s so bad abut Trump?

The answer seems to be “he can’t win in the general elections”. Hmmm.

I wonder why? Trump and the other candidates all seem to be lined up behind “Christian values”. This is generally understood to mean “no gay marriage”, “no abortion”, and “the right to limit the availability of family planning methods”. “Cristian values” also seems to encompass a heavy emphasis on “Christian” and not broadly “religious values” (read watch out Jews, Muslim, and non-believers). So what makes Trump so bad if all the candidates are singing from the same sheet.

The next President will almost certainly get to name the next Supreme Court Justice and maybe a few more. A Democrat President will likely name Justices who would look poorly upon recent Supreme Court decisions dealing with Voting Rights, Campaign Financing (Citizens United), Roe v Wade Limitations, Personal Religious Freedoms (Hobby Lobby), and Affirmative Action for a few examples. As I recall there is not much light between the positions all the GOP candidates have taken on these issues. What’s so bad about Trump?

Economically speaking, all the GOP candidates are for tax cuts across the board (read tax break for the wealthy). And with a GOP President, jobs will be growing from every tree or so these candidates would like us to think. And Russia, China, and ISIS, you better watch out when the new GOP sheriff arrives in town. Hmmm.

So, one more time, what’s so bad about Donald Trump? Isn’t he just like the rest?

Could it be that GOP leaders fear that Donald’s unconventional style, which is also devoid of facts to support the standard GOP litany of policies, will get slaughtered in a debate with a serious candidate like Hillary Clinton?  What a hoot, Trump can win the GOP primaries only to lose the General Election.  Hmmm.

Or maybe the GOP concern is that Donald Trump is at the core not beholding to big money, especially GOP money? How can he be controlled?  Hmmm.

I wonder when GOP leaders will consider the possibility that the major general election problem they are looking at is their platform policies, and strangely Donald Trump may be the most electable of their current crop, even though he is wholly unqualified to become Chief Executive?

As Sarah Palin once said, you can put lipstick on a pig but in the end it is still a pig.

Kasich Unforced Error

February 25, 2016

There was so much hopeful about John Kasich’s candidacy, like he might be the only adult in the GOP room. His background included business, Congress, and a successful run as Ohio’s Governor. He has kept his campaign positive while his opponents frolicked in slams and dirty tricks against each other. On many issues, Kasich seems a moderate, only slightly right of center. His candidacy is still a long shot given the success of Donald Trump and the apparent “establishment GOP” support for Marco Rubio. Never the less, Kasich can’t be ruled out.

This week John Kasich took a step which will ensure he won’t become President. Kasich followed through on a promise to defund Planned Parenthood in Ohio.

Actually Governor Kasich signed a bill which does not name Planned Parenthood. Rather it restricts Ohio State funding from institutions which also perform abortions. Hmmm. Is that a difference without a distinction?

Kasich’s unforced error lies in why get involved with an issue where women’s right to choose is involved and the hardship resulting from trying to close down Planned Parenthood will fall on poor, often single women? Why conduct a war when none is needed?

Certainly, abortion can be a matter of conscience. For some, abortion is wrong, period. Marco Rubio has said he favors a total abortion ban even in cases of incest and rape. While Rubio’s views are extreme, he is most likely someone who believes abortion is a moral crime… even if the Supreme Court has ruled otherwise, namely that abortion is the right of every woman.

Kasich’s unforced error arises from the fact, much like the GOP case for repealing Obamacare, what State facilities will replace Planned Parenthood, especially to assist poor women in search of family planning advice?

Being against abortion is Katich’s right as a free thinking citizen but he has no right to impose that on other Americans.

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.