Archive for the ‘Mike Huckabee’ category

The Evolution Of Political Sanity

January 17, 2016

The Republican Presidential Primary process has once again tested the limits of commonsense. In 2012, Republicans fielded a group of candidates which resembled more a Vaudeville act than a serious contest to pick the most qualified. Never the less, the GOP did select Mitt Romney who was certainly both qualified and heads and shoulders a better choice than the likes of Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, or Herman Cain. The elephant in the room in 2016 is who or will anyone emerge who can be viewed as a serious candidate?

Supporters of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio see their preferences as the inevitable nominee, while Chris Christie and John Kasich’s fans are sure their pick will be the last person stranding and gain the nomination. Ben Carson and Jeb Bush’s clubs are gently sleeping, while Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Rand Paul are secretly hoping a natural catastrophe sweeps all the others aside. And as if nothing each of these candidates have promised is relevant, House Speaker Paul Ryan has now announced the Republican controlled House of Representatives will construct the GOP Presidential platform. Hmmm.

I wonder who is taking who seriously?

Mainstream media is gradually changing its tone on Donald Trump. After a succession of polls have steadily boosted Trumps standing versus the rest of the pack, the media is now beginning to suggest Trump might win the nomination outright and save the party from a brokered convention. This recognition must be tough for the legitimate press given the widely unconventional campaign tactics and outrageous statements Trump has used so far. Can you think of one sensible and well articulated domestic or foreign policy position that Donald Trump has articulated? But I bet you can recall any number of inflammatory and relatively meaningless charges and counter charges he has made to gain personal attention.

Up to this point, the GOP candidates have been eating Donald Trump’s dust. As a candidate gained traction and rose to challenge Trump’s leadership position, the glare of the public spotlight revealed critical weaknesses in each.

Jeb Bush (with an exclamation mark) was the first to rise and fade. He was followed quickly by Ben Carson. While Carson is finished, Bush still could become the nominee in a brokered and exasperated convention. Both Cruz and Rubio are now receiving the blow back from the Donald. IMO while both Cruz and Rubio are mortally wounded by their own position statements when it comes to the general election, they are also looking weaker when compared to Trump.

Christie and Kasich are still low enough in the polls that they are not drawing Trump’s daily attention and are neither being helped or hurt by any comparisons. Both are trying to find some niche where their political and executive experience can be shown superior to Trump’s “smartest guy in the room” approach. Both of these men must be hoping for a brokered convention.

Florina is another issue. On paper she is intelligent, someone with proven executive experience, and of course is a women at a time when one of Hillary Clinton strongest appeals is her gender. Fiorina, lacks political experience and her work experience showed an arrogant leader, with a sort of rock star persona, a more “go it alone” person. So far in the primary process, Carly has not shown a warm, be my friend side. She is not likely to overcome this and attract a larger following.

Huckabee, Santorum, and Paul offer nothing that will attract a majority either in the primaries or in a brokered convention. They are just spending money and taking up space.
So what will the GOP do?

“Deer in the headlights” comes to mind. After 8 disastrous years with George W Bush and another 8 years with candidates running on anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-gay, balanced with pro-wealthy, pro-evangelicals, and pro-extreme conservative platforms, it is no wonder the GOP has drifted into a party of extreme views representing small segments of the electorate which individually cannot get along with each other.

The GOP top guns have dug themselves into a huge hole and don’t know what to do.
Consequently each candidate is trying to call out the other candidates for the silliest of contradictions while they smugly look in the camera and say “I’m more qualified than that bozo”. Hmmm.

The shenanigans the American public is witnessing reflects personality, not genuine policy differences. Trump is Trump, Cruz is Cruz, Rubio is Rubio, etc. If one steps back and thinks about the GOP of Regan, or George H W Bush’s day, there would be no confusing them with Democrats or Democrat Party policies.  These past GOP Presidents would have stood upon a rational, far more moderate, and inclusive Republican Party platform.

It is hard to see how the GOP can stop digging and get itself out of this dysfunctional evolution of political sanity.

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.

Good News, God’s In The Race

May 5, 2015

Mike Huckabee will announce his candidacy for the GOP Presidential nomination today, in of all places Hope, Arkansas, Bill Clinton’s birthplace… Mike has the franchise on evangelical politics and will thump the bible when ever it will move the crowd effectively. Along with his religious beliefs will come a list of things he would expect others to be denied based upon his beliefs. Hmmm.

Carly Fiorina entered the race yesterday and has positioned herself as the hawk on foreign affairs. Carly told Fox News yesterday that she would arm the kurds, Egyptians, and anyone else in the Middle East as the means to defeat ISIS. Ben Carson announced his candidacy too and promised that he would follow through on his promise to end Obamacare. Hmmm.

The fun is just beginning. There are dozens more GOP hopefuls who have not announced. In many regards this could be a benefit to candidates like Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, or John Kasich. These candidates might dilute the message and consequently these candidates might not feel it necessary to attack gay rights, women’s reproductive health, or propose invading any foreign country that doesn’t pay tribute.  These later entries instead may attempt to appear presidential compared to their primary challengers.

Huckabee probably represents the most disruptive GOP hopeful. His oratory skills are exceptional, his record as Governor was strong, and his smooth, non-hesitating comfort in invoking supreme authority threatens the rhetoric of other candidates. Consider that the GOP could present a reasonable story about how they could lead the economy and protect Americans while ensuring that Government works. A moderate GOP candidate could promise to eliminate inefficiencies, trim back waste, and hold the line on taxes. This would be an attractive message.

Once Huckabee starts down the path of what God is against and attracts voters in early primaries, the main stream candidates will be tempted to match his rhetoric. The end result will be a clear distinction between Hillary Clinton and which ever candidate emerges in voters minds, even though there might in reality not be a sliver of light between them.

For sure some of the announced or soon to be announced GOP candidates are really running for Vice President or some other high Administration position. This will become clearer as we see who attacks who and on what grounds.

The greatest unknown, IMO, is which candidate will attract the most dark money. The dark money (ha, ha, uncoordinated money) could flood television markets and distort whatever any specific candidate has said. In the Presidential campaign, Republican dark money is usually offset by Democrat dark money, and in the end neither side gains a decisive advantage. In the primary, the impact of dark money can only be about character assassination. Hmmm.

The fun has begun.

Scratch One More GOP Presidential Wannabe

February 2, 2015

Running for President must be a financially worthwhile venture. Otherwise why would so many people be interested in the GOP nomination? This weekend witnessed one candidate commit public political suicide in hopes of improving his odds of establishing himself as a formidable candidate. What was he thinking?

Former Governor and former Presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, chose to break into jail with unnecessary comments about gays.

Mike told his audience that being gay was nothing more than a life style choice. If someone did not want to be gay, no problem, just stop acting that way. Huckabee comes from the nurture, not nature school and proudly displayed his “the earth is 5,000 years old” mindset.

Not satisfied with that remark, Huckabee moved onto gay marriage. Huckabee felt that gays should not be allowed to marry because many christians believed same sex marriage was abhorrent. In other words, because christians believed same sex marriage was wrong, these warm hearted christians should not be subjected to the reality of same sex couples getting married. Hmmm.

It is difficult to know with certainty how deeply Huckabee holds these views. It is not so hard to suspect that Huckabee knows his Presidential nomination chances are over if he does not attack money and do well in Iowa and South Caroline, two of the earliest primaries next year. Pandering for votes seems to not upset the former Arkansas Governor.

Any GOP nominee who is openly anti-gay can kiss goodbye winning the national election. Huckabee must realize that.

Consequently, one is left with the suspicion then that Huckabee sees dollar signs if he can string out his run for the nomination.

I doubt the Koch brothers will waste their money on Mike.

GOP, Bi-Polar?

January 14, 2015

Governor Chris Christie thrilled his supporters yesterday with a rousing “State of the State” speech in Trenton, NJ. Christie’s speech was presidential in tone and like all good politicians, took credit for things that stretch the line of credibility. But the new Christie, many pounds lighter than two years ago, did look and sound like a serious candidate.

Christie took credit for shrinking New Jersey unemployment from over 10% to 6.4%. He did not pause to say the overall US economy improved by even more, or that the high unemployment which he inherited had resulted from the near depression conditions which prevailed following GOP President George W Bush’s term.

Governor Christie also took credit for reducing the rate of real estate property tax increase. Christie pointed to his Administration’s policies of cutting State spending rather than raising taxes. Christie omitted mention that he also stopped property tax rebates which had moderated the increase amount previously experienced. Hmmm.

Christie’s speech no doubt sent Republican strategists running for their Tums bottle. Despite skirting real truth, Christie presented a persuasive example that he should be taken seriously. Hmmm.

So what about Jeb and Mitt… and maybe Scott?

Meanwhile, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul were taking shots at both Bush and Romney, emphasizing the need for “fresh ideas”. Rick Santorum observed that both Cruz and Paul were “bomb throwers”, and that Marco Rubio lacked sufficient experience to be even a bomb thrower.

Not to be out done, Mike Huckabee gratuitously evaluated Barack and Michelle Obama’s parenting skills (as if that makes any difference) playing right to his bible thumping supporters. Romney and Bush said little except to the people who count… the big money interests. Their message, don’t count me out.

Hillary’s decision to delay her announcement is paying dividends already. The “right wing of the right oriented Republican Party” must make its case for relevance by impugning the “left side of the right oriented Republican Party” instead of beating up on Hillary. Oh what fun.

There is still a long time before the primary and Presidential election seasons. Jeb Bush’s tactic to try and steal the nomination by declaring (actually acting as if he had declared), just as in sail boat racing, is being quickly covered by other potential candidates. Their rhetoric is a hoot.

A martian visitor might rightly draw the conclusion that the GOP is lives within a large conservative bubble and is bipolar. Winning the 2016 election will require the GOP to field a candidate who can appeal to more than this conservative bubble. At this point potential GOP candidates, who step into the center of America’s political spectrum, do so at the own peril.

Christie, Next Great Hope?

November 4, 2009

I can, already, hear the music  beginning to play. “Here is the next President of the United States, Governor Chris Christie”. Is that a dream or a nightmare?

Yesterday, former US Attorney Chris “let me throw my weight around” Christie was elected New Jersey’s next Governor. He won on a relentless stream of negative television ads coupled with a fizzled bid by third party candidate, Chris Daggett . The present Governor, Jon Corzine ran a campaign similar to his past four years, a lot of hot air and not much substance.

New Jersey has arcane legislative processes and a history of “home rule”. This leads to a Belgium like solution to most problems, one for the North, one for the South. On top of that, every turn in the road has a school district, police department, mayor (or equivalent), and lots of elected or appointed officials. The joke is that people wonder why New Jersey has trouble passing its State budget even though it has the highest property taxes in the Country and one of the largest debt obligations.

Christie ran on the same platform as Corzine had four years before. Christie is going to cut spending and waste, create jobs, and lower property taxes. If he can accomplish that, then maybe we should not be surprised to see him become a top candidate for the GOP Presidential nomination in 2012 or 2016.

My guess is that he will have no more impact on New Jersey’s situation than past Governors. My guess also is that in the land of the blind, the GOP will not care and may banter his name around even for 2012. Watch out Palin, Romney, Pawlenty, and Huckabee, there’s a new kid in town (and he can fight dirty too).


The Candidate and the Team

August 14, 2008

In this marathon 2008 Presidential primary and national election season, we have been exposed to a lot of candidates and a lot of campaign staffs.  Thinking back the candidates fell into certain catagories.  These catagories were differentiated by how much the average citizen was attracted to the candidates and how their staffs projected them.  Here is my ranking of the candidate catagories.

1. Early in, early out.  This group included Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Mike Gravel, Ducan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, Tommy Thompson, Sam Brownback, and Jim Gilmore.  These candidates announced early, gave a few good speeches, and dropped by the wayside.  They were either one issue candidates or were simply too unknown to stir the hearts of a nation.  Their campaign staffs stuck pretty much to the basics and acted honorably.

2. A little flash, then the dash.  This second group contained John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney  and Fred Thompson.  This group appealed to a national base and chose certain themes that excited narrow interests.  Their campaigns searched for ways to differentiate the candidate but in the end it was the amount of money they had raised that determined their early departure.

3. The glorious twins.  At opposite ends of the political spectrum, but thoroughly committed to their advocacies, Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich represented what is truly great about politics.  These two campaigners presented their cases in a straight forward and above board manner.  Interestingly Ron Paul struck a chord across a wide spectrum of voters and did so without slamming any opponent.  (Ralph Nader could take lessons.)  Both candidates simply could not get enough votes.

4. The second best hands.  In this next to last group we find two serious contenders who played to special interests while trying to appeal to everyone.  Mike Huckabee and Hillary Clinton ran legitimate campaigns that arguably could have won had either of the presumptive candidates stumbled.  In this near “winning” group, however, we see the campaign team departing from who the candidates tried to say they were.  Worse, we saw Mike and Hillary stooping to enlarging the truth about themselves and omitting or misleading the truth about their opponents.  Lost was the discussion of issues and why they would be able to deliver on their promise, and instead it was why they were a better choice than their opponent.

5. The presumptive candidates.  John McCain and Barack Obama are the two left standing.  In full glory we now see the campaigns and we must strain to see the candidates themselves.  The mud has begun to fly and soon it will be impossible to know which one threw first.  Money is still king and the one with the most will have a big advanatage (no surprise).  This time around the Democratic candidate will have plenty of money and could outspend McCain.

Having lots of money is necessary but also comes with its own limitations.  The major problem is who will decide what image is portrayed for each candidate.  You would hope it is the candidate himself but don’t jump too quickly to that conclusion.  This is a great test of the commander in chief skills that Obama and McCain possess.  Can they keep to the facts and proposed policies, or will they resort to fear and slander?

This is also an important time to listen for signs that either candidate will lack the prerequisite skills to be a chief executive and become a disappointment like George W Bush.  Bush looks Presidential in pictures but that is the end of it.  He has been unable to select sensible policies, choses fear and division to distract voters, and has been a complete failure at managing the business of Government.  We must look carefully at both candidates and select the one who will try to unite all Americans, has policies that fit the US now, and who has the stamina and interest in seeing the work of Government finished.

Another Trip

February 16, 2008

The “great decider”, President George W Bush left town yesterday and headed for Africa.  Why Africa?  Well why not, and besides no one else wanted to see him.  This trip will take him to several African countries all with a claim to oil or other valuable minerals.  George knows how to get out of the rain, trust me.

The Country can rest a little easier because Laura is with him on this trip.  Still you have wonder, why Africa and why now?

1. The surge is stalled.  What should the Country do?

2. The economy has slowed to a crawl.  What should the Country do that will produce real “value creation”?

3. Many (too many) of the Banks, the Investment houses, and the bond insurance companies have made greedy and bone headed investments that appear co-mingled with other of their assets such that the consequence of the write offs could be born by investors who wanted none of that risk when they invested.  What regulatory action is called for?

4. Bush and friends are stalled in their quest for retroactive immunity for the telecoms that cooperated with the illegal Goverment spying program.  If this is such an important issue, why is the President not working to find a compromise?

5. The Russians are still not happy with deployment of our anti-missile missiles and radar in Poland and the Czech Republic.  Is there not something that needs to be done here?

Africa is a proper place for the US President to visit and certainly from a foreign aid perspective, Africa is long over due for a visit.  But why now? 

Is Any Candidate Up to the Task?

February 15, 2008

Getting elected and being the President our Country needs are two different things.  It is not clear to me that either the Democrats or the Republicans have the candidates and “party” leadership to change the direction of America.  Maybe it is time for the formation of competent and realistic third party alternatives.

America is looking down the barrel of two devastating trends.

1. The first is the trampling of individual rights in the name of security or an assumed State religion.  The Bush Administration has used fear of terrorists and hatred of minorities as a very effective mobilizer of 50.1% majorities.  With this support he then rewarded and enriched his political backers.  The risk to all of us is the continued use of fear and the assignment of second class status to some Americans will become part of the accepted ways of Government.  This is a slippery slope and erosion of further Constitutionally protected liberties won’t be far behind.

2. Wealth creation in the US has ceased and most citizens are worse off today than they were 10 years ago.  More children than ever can look forward to having a lower standard of living than their parents.  Of course hedge fund managers and brokers for subprime mortgages and other Wall Street investment bankers have done economically very well.  But the problem is that they do not create wealth, they simply extract it from others.  Without a sharp increase in the wealth distribution in favor of the bottom 95%, the US will steadily decline in economic strength (followed by military strength).  We will see

  • the return of inflation
  • much higher interest rates due to the cost necessary to sell US debt
  • the slow decay of the infrastructure
  • Government leaders shaping foreign policy in a way to blame some other country so that Americans can overlook their failures.  This can lead quickly to another war.
  • a total ostrich approach to global warming

Is it time to think about a brand new, grass roots political party?  One based on sound economic and scientific principles.  Think about it.  How can America afford the Iraq War, fix the crumbling highways and bridges, fix social security and medicare, provide for cost effective healthcare (with dignity), maintain sufficient military strength, and return value to the US dollar?  The answer is we can not.  Bush’s 2009 Budget proposal has an estimated $600 billion deficit and raises the national debt to over $ 9 trillion! 

McCain will spend a lot of money on the military, not raise taxes and lower them if he can, and try to curtail discretionary Government spending.  Clinton/Obama will tee up universal healthcare and try to stimulate jobs.  Although they both say they will end the Iraq War and bring the troops home, will they do it fast enough and will their party members in Congress support them?

Think third party.  Michael Bloomberg is potential third party candidate who would approach the top job in a fuller and more financial sound manner.  He is relatively politically neutral.  In order for him to be most successful he will need to encourage the election of a slate of third party Congress men and women.  He would have the 2010 and 2012 elections to get 30-40% of the Congressional seats filled with new third party members.  These members would pledge:

1. Complete separation of church and state.

2. Encouragement of math and science in applications such as healthcare, pure science, manufacturing, and communications.

3. Support the concepts of “1 America” and “the value of each person”.

4. Demand balanced budgets, debt with finite payback periods, and a goal of eliminating the national debt.

The general prinicple behind this new third party is relatively simple.  The American melting pot is the most innovative and competitively creative in the world “if” left to its own and encouraged in the direction of continuous improvement in productivity and the broad application of science.  Governments that use fear, hate and are wasteful spenders rob all Americans. 

The Work of Congress

February 14, 2008

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”  That is the 4th amendment to the Constitution and is is clear on the intent of the founding fathers.  All Americans are protected against the intrusion of Government authorities into their private matters without probable cause.  Further, “fishing expeditions” where the Government thinks someone is a bad person and goes looking through that person’s house and papers (or today computers) looking for anything illegal is not allowed under our Constitution. 

This may seem odd should the Government actually find some criminal evidence.  One might ask, “what’s wrong with that, the person actually did not pay his taxes fully” (for example).  The simple answer is the Constitution says that type of information gathering is not ok, and the underlying reason is the fear of ceding too much power to Government (which in the end is composed of just other ordinary people who are quite capable of abusing this power).  Party A could send the FBI into the homes and businesses of anyone who dared to support Party B and look for whatever could be used against the individual.  This is the place where the slippery slope of the current Congressional debate on changes to 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) could lead.

Today presents a quite different landscape that our founding fathers imagined.  Yet the principles seem just as relevant.  If the Executive Branch argued that in order to detect terrorist communicating, it must monitor all cell phone and email communications.   Congress and the Executive might compromise and say it is permissable providing any information gathered was (1) related to terrorism and (2) was retained for 72 hours unless further authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review.  In other words, the Government could keep and use only that information related to terrorism and only if they got the Courts to sign off.

Bush and Cheney have argued that they do not need the court’s approval as simply a matter of executive authority.  They have clearly misread the Constitution.  Yet what is our Congress spending time on?  Steroids and Baseball !  This is a matter for the criminal law enforcement agencies and courts to handle.  It does not rank up there with the Constitutionally guarenteed rights of American citizens.