Archive for the ‘marco rubio’ category

Who Is The Real Marco Rubio?

March 10, 2016

In life, tragedy, involves a hero being tested and failing when in the final analysis, the hero never needed to be tested. Marco Rubio’s run for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination I would submit offers a tragic ending.

Son of Cuban immigrants, Rubio gained his college education and a law degree before entering Florida politics eventually winning the US Senate seat over a far better known, former Florida Governor. Marco’s story is a rags to riches (well not real rich) story and could have served as a motivational model for other immigrants, especially Hispanic ones. But with Rubio’s campaign on life support, it is most likely his campaign will follow the path Jeb Bush already blazed. Another suspended run for President.

Running for President is hard work involving long hours and quick witted responses to reporters’ questions.  At any point, a candidate can get tripped up.  This is understandable and regardless of the outcome, the consequences are not tragic.

In his 2016 run, Rubio has initiated “tests” on several occasion and regrettably chosen the lesser path when confronted with a moral, ethical, and future looking choice.  For example, Rubio recanted his “Gang of eight” bipartisan position which supported a comprehensive immigration reform in favor of the short sighted, deport them all approach. Who knows why Marco made this reversal but Rubio’s new position was more similar to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz’ stand. Having been an immigrant and having gained access to citizenship, one might reasonably wonder how he sleeps at night.

Rubio also opposes a women’s right to choose, again popular with the right. Marco, however, up his determination to woe the conservatives and evangelicals by insisting that he would oppose abortion even in cases of incest, rape, and risk to the mother’s health. These are mighty strong and unnecessary words (especially for a man) and totally lacking extenuating circumstance considerations.

But there’s more.  What made Marco climb down into the gutter to trade crude and un-Presidential barbs with Donald Trump?  His voluntary decision to raise sexual innuendos and childish “potty mouthed” slurs revealed a clear lack of maturity. How would a President Rubio deal with an opposition Congress like President Obama has had to deal with?

Of course, when the campaign was running smoothly, well before the debates, Marco projected a smooth and polished tone, someone who one could expect to run again in subsequent years if in the 2016 crowded field he was squeezed out. After Rubio’s performance, however, it is hard to imagine him getting another shot at the big apple.

Rubio’s extreme positions were all unnecessary and resulted in him placing a marker on the wrong side of history. Someone whose strength was touted as his youth , composure, and membership in the next generation, Rubio chose to unnecessarily champion losing positions which in no way work to ease income inequality, protect the Country, or to grow the economy.

A real tragedy.






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.

Experience Versus Judgement

February 4, 2016

The 2016 Presidential primary process is drenching Americans in rich rhetoric which leaves one scratching ones head thinking, “what did he/she just say?” The candidates, or more correctly their strategists and speech writers, have distilled everything down to a 10 second, hopefully highly memorable sound bite. Hmmm.

The President is called the chief executive. I can’t remember one, Democrat or Republican, who has actually acted as the country’s top executive, Instead the vast array of Departments, Agencies, and the Military seem to operate on their own agendas which call first for survival and only later for delivery of services. They are the civil service crowd, immune from dismissal except in severe situations. Any senior official has long ago learned it is better to “go along and get along”.

The Presidency has instead morphed into an auxiliary legislative branch proposing new regulations or laws, or issuing a veto to thwart laws originating in Congress. The Presidency has reinforced its roll in setting foreign policy (with the advice and consent of Congress).

So where does “experience and judgement” fit in?

Does being a State Governor or corporate leader prepare one better than being a former member of Congress? Supporters of Donald Trump, Carli Fiorina, John Kasich, Chris Christie, and Jeb Bush certain think so. The politics of corporate life, however, are completely different from that involved with a President and Congress. Further the whole idea of profit motive is totally missing from Government (at all levels).

Experience can also refer to age and life lessons gained over time. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, who occupy different points on the progressive axis, would stress this type of experience as a plus for them. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, on the other hand, represent the “fresh, new faces” who bring the theme its time to change forward. Hmmm.

Judgement is not so straight forward. One could say George W Bush exercised poor judgement when he allow the Iraq invasion and occupation to take place. Unfortunately the only proof of this is history. At the time the country and Congress was only too willing to surrender commonsense and due diligence to the elusive fear of terrorists and the warmth of patriotism. History, however, has coldly shown the foolishness of Bush’s “judgement”.

As we listen to the current crop of would be Presidents one would do well to look beyond just experience and judgement. Neither may be relevant. One might better judge the candidates upon their stand alone intelligence, their emotional maturity, and their apparent executive skills (like problem solving, prioritization, and strategic thinking).

One might ask, how can I make these judgements?

It won’t be easy because 150 million voters can’t get one on one with each of the candidates. In addition, each serious candidate has a backroom full of script writers and strategists parsing each and every issue. (That’s why these campaigns need so much money!). But here’s a place to begin.

Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and ask them to assess these personal characteristics for each candidate. Then, write or simply go to the Facebook page of each of the major television networks and repeat this request. If enough people were to make this type of request, it might alter the line of questioning to something far more substantive.

I am not going to hold my breath waiting for the news media to ask substantive questions rather than colorful, headline grabbing ones. I will probably look to the candidates’ policy platforms and make a judgement on whether these policies, if enacted, would be good for America.

Barack Obama, when elected, had a long list of proposed policies, Affordable Care Act being the only noteworthy one enacted. President Obama has faced his last six year a “just say no” Congress. History is likely to record Obama, brought the nation back from near depression, did not do anything “stupid”, and steered the ship of State bravely and safely. That might be the best we can expect from his successor given the divided nature of America.

How many of the candidates, Democrat or Republican, do you think can steer the ship of State bravely and safely?