Archive for the ‘Ted Cruz’ category

Foreign Policy

April 2, 2016

This year’s GOP Presidential primary campaigns have begrudgingly included discussion of America’s foreign policy. Republicans, long advertised as “strong on defense”, claim foreign policy as their strong suit. In this year’s Presidential race, you could have fooled me.

Think about the world around us.

  • China, which has grown at an almost unimaginable double digit pace for over ten years, still clings to the notion that Asia belongs to China regardless of what international law may say. Fully nuclear capable, China remembers Japan’s war atrocities, coverts Taiwan’s return to China, and does not forget the years of colonial occupation at the hands of the West.
  • Japan has a split personality, part imperial and partial to the Samaria way of life, the other part worried about the devastation of WWII and not wanting a repeat, both of these personalities comfortable with isolationism.
  • Russia remains much the same country as depicted in “Katherine the Great” always worried about clandestine thoughts supposedly held by neighboring countries. Fully nuclear capable, Russia and its authoritative leaders simply do not think like Americans.
  • Europe is not one country but a composition of many. The big players are Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy and Spain and all are focused on increasing material wealth without giving up any cultural riches regardless of what hazards loom outside Europe’s borders. Europeans have known war like no one else.Advertised as America’s ally (under NATO), European Countries prefer focusing on their own country’s social problems than global conditions.
  • India, Pakistan, and most of Southeast Asia possess heavy loads to carry just to feed their people and, if possible keep up with their third world development. From time to time, these countries become victim of religious intolerance and in the case of India and Pakistan look at each other as the worst of enemies.
  • Africa and South America are lands of the rich and very poor. At this point, the countries making up Africa and South America are only capable of civil or regional wars. These countries posses abundant mineral resources and the potential for attractive trading alliances, yet somehow seem unable to reach the modern world.
  • Middle East and Israel are geographically commingled. Both struggle with the allure of modernity and both cling to views based upon ancient history. While Israel appears as modern as any country in the world to a traveler, its views that certain lands belong to Israel because “god” said so is not much different than China’s claim to Southeast Asia or Russia to Eastern Europe. Muslim Middle East countries have varying degrees of modern world attributes but are internally at war with a paralyzing view based upon life as it were 1000 years ago.

So tell me again me again why nuclear proliferation is a good idea, why a religious test is applicable to refugee resettlement, why trade tariffs and embargo are helpful, and why any direct military involvement in foreign lands can unilaterally reduce world tensions?

Tell me why the red meat of political speeches make any sense at all?

Tell me why the 7/24 news media not only tolerates but at times encourages politicians to make unsubstantiated policy proposal and not call them on it? Tell me, given the GOP 2016  monopoly of simplistic foreign policy views why it is ok to block Supreme Court nominations, revert to health care coverage which covers less people, or seek religious freedom protections which promulgates discrimination and unequal treatment under the law?

There is assuredly no way any candidate can get it right on all the issues, domestically or in foreign affairs. The world is too complicated and nuanced. On the other hand, naive and half baked ideas, populous based, send the wrong message to other countries and to voters.

This complex world we live in has traded world wars for regional wars for the past 60 years. Americans need to recognize that the appeal of Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Bernie Sanders are based upon disenfranchised segments of our population whose wants and needs reflect domestic conditions only. Satisfying these domestic wants, however, could upset world order without anyone suspecting it happening. Such an outcome could be devastating.

Electing a President is more than a beauty contest, a fancy slogan, or the person with the most money. Electing a President might begin with selecting someone as thoughtful, as sincere, and as inquisitive as Barack Obama

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Will Progressives and Independents Get “Bern-ed”?

March 25, 2016

Bernie Sanders is making a remarkable run for the Democrat Presidential nomination. He speaks in unambiguous language and repeats a message that electrifies many. He is almost, but not quite, a Barack Obama reincarnate. Are you feeling the Bern?

His opponent, Hillary Clinton, appears almost boringly calm.  Clinton seems headed towards the Democrat nomination, but at what cost. Hillary supporters do not appear as enthusiastic and this leaves the obvious question, will they show up on election day?

Stakes could not be higher for Independents and Democrats, a plurality of voters. The Tea Party and Freedom Coalition (a minority of Republicans) take-over of the Republican Party represents an all or nothing approach. By this I mean, these conservatives want total control and will do what ever is necessary to deny influence to Democrats even if the election favors Democrats. Do you think Republicans will vote for Judge Garland even if a Democrat is elected the next President?

Currently the 7/24 media is consumed with “how will Republicans stop Donald Trump”. It is great entertainment but masks a serious Party defect. Instead of dealing with major non-partisan issues, like infrastructure, job creation, and education, the hijacked Republican Party seems more interested in anti-abortion (Indiana) and anti-gay (North Carolina) issues and passing laws which are unlikely to stand Constitutional muster. If stopping Donald Trump means nominating someone like Ted Cruz, the general elections should be tilted in favor of Hillary Clinton.

Except…

Hillary carries a lot of baggage. The Clinton years and the Clinton Foundation have left plenty of skeletons for mudslinging opposition to throw her way. In addition, Hillary is considered in her responses, nuances some might say. Against negative advertisements and direct personal assaults (from say a Ted Cruz), Hillary could have a messaging problem.

Never the less, Hillary should prevail given the negative and petty GOP agenda.

Prevail that is unless too many Democrats and Independents left their hearts with Bernie Sanders and simple take a pass on the November General Election. OMG.

I trust that Bernie Sanders will be man enough to bow out gracefully if the Democrat Primary trends continue and Hillary gains a majority before the convention. Rebuilding party unity and convincing Progressives and Independents why a Democrat victory is important… for reasons other than steering more money towards Democrat supporters, will be a big and important task.

A November Republican victory will assuredly cement an ultra conservative Supreme Court and GOP control of Congress will swing the laws of the land in a direction rooted in our past.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Look Who’s Next In Line

March 9, 2016

The Republican Party is in a pickle. Almost 2/3rds of polled Republicans want someone other than Donald Trump to represent the party in November. Last night Trump won in Michigan and Mississippi. What a shock. But wait, even more of a shock is to look at who is  in second place.  It’s Ted Cruz, who is even less acceptable. Hmmm.

To be sure, this corundum belongs to the Republican Party and it is theirs to sort out. The GOP can run whomever they wish.

Never the less it is telling to study who the GOP is testing in its primaries.

Considering the Cruz candidacy a little further may help one understand why pundits are predicting a splintering of the Republican Party when the GOP finishes its convention this summer. Cruz represents the far right of the conservative section of the Republican Party. Cruz champions the view that Government is too big and must be pared back at all cost. Is that the most important issue in voters’ minds?

In Monday, March 7, 2016’s Wall Street Journal, Cruz wrote an opinion column under the title “The Scalia Seat: Let the People Speak”. In this column, one can read all that is necessary to learn how an “originalist” can conveniently twist his logic so that he can justify behavior which is directly opposite the Founding Fathers’ intentions.

Cruz writes that the Constitution has a fixed meaning (his belief). Supreme Court opinions which reflect Constitutional interpretations removed from the horse and buggy, pre-electricity days when the Constitution was written, is inappropriate Cruz claims. Cruz predicts that an Obama appointment would usher in late term abortions, mandating religious organizations (and private business operated by religious owners) accept gays and same sex marriages and treat their employees the same as any other private employer in like businesses, and, not to be overlooked, unilaterally take guns from lawful owners. (Have you heard this list before?)

In a most astounding leap of logic, Cruz then concludes that these issues are so important that unlike what is written in the Constitution and over 200 years of experience flowing from the Country’s founding, that President Obama is not entitled to “advice and consent” procedures (as spelled out in the Constitution) when the President exercise his clearly authorized duty to nominate a replacement for Justice Scalia. Hmmm.

Donald Trump has thrived on hateful, discriminatory, and xenophobic campaign rhetoric. Cruz is pushing a Constitutional interpretation which would enable hateful, discriminatory and xenophobic legal interpretations under the egis of a Court majority composed of “Antonin Scalia-like” Justices.

What has the GOP got itself into?

If Not Trump, Then Cruz?

March 6, 2016

Republicans are walking around with a dazed look. With Donald Trump polling between 35-40%, that means that a majority of Republicans support someone else. What will happen if Trump does not get the nomination? Who will?

Sitting in second place is Ted Cruz. And as much as many worry about what Donald Trump’s specific policies might be, there is no lack of clarity for Ted Cruz. Instead there should be major concerns about where Cruz wants to take America.

Go to Cruz’ home page (www.TedCruz.org) and see for yourself. Ted lists nine “issues” where what a Cruz Presidency would look like are explained. No surprise, Cruz lists issues which overlap and most are in part contradictory. And all of them leave the reader with a blank image of what America would be like after Cruz took over. For example:

  • Restore the Constitution. Even though Cruz cites later the numerous occasion he has defended (successfully) the Constitution, it becomes clear that Cruz really means “Restore the parts of the Constitution I agree with”.
  • 2nd Amendment. Probably the least ambiguous issue, Cruz is full square behind gun ownership and gun use. Ted apparently believes that the “old west” is what the new America should resemble.
  • Secure the Borders. Cruz asserts that America should be far more stringent with policies which keep immigrant and foreigners in general out of the US labor market. While a logical position one could hold, this exclusionary policy works both ways.  Consider when US companies attempt to operate globally and are told that senior executives are unwelcome in a foreign country. Cruz’ rhetoric also ignores the well documented need for seasonal agricultural labor.
  • Defend the Nation. Cruz raises a hawkish, military might flag not unlike many other previous Republican candidates and uses the current world stage as evidence that President Obama’s leadership has not worked. Cruz claims President Obama has made the world a less safe place. Strangely, Cruz is silent on the issue of who authorized the Iraq invasion and occupation which destabilized the entire Middle East.
  • Stand with Israel. On day one, a President Cruz would recognize Jerusalem as the rightful capital of Israel and move the US embassy to that city. Cruz’s decision would overturn US policy (by both Parties) and put the US finger back on the scales of the Israel-Arab conflict with nothing to gain but another black eye.
  • Religious Freedom. In essence, Cruz recommends discrimination as long as it is done under the name of religion. In Cruz’s world there is no situation which covers “freedom from religion” which the Constitution promises in the first Amendment. This single issue capsulizes the Cruz take on American life, the Constitution guarantees Americans the right to impose their views on others outside the election process.
  • Life, Marriage, Family. Cruz comes on strong with essentially religion driven views on family planning, human rights, and the role of religious freedom in denying gays and women the same opportunities that other Americans have.
  • Jobs and Opportunity. Cruz buries in this heading the repeal of Obamacare, and of course, offers no idea on what would replace the Affordable Care Act.
  • Rein In Washington. Cruz finishes strong with a declaration that he will eliminate five cabinet level departments. The crosshairs will be on the IRS (how will the tax code be enforced?), the Department of Education (education is no longer important?), the Department of Energy (separately Cruz says he wants to immediately approve the XL Pipeline and follow a policy of “energy independence”), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (is this a statement about the North and Northeast versus the more open South and Southwest?), and the Department of Commerce (in a globalized world, a Department of Commerce is not needed?) Apparently, Cruz believes that regulations emanating from these Departments are holding back America and contributing greatly to government spending.

One must be struck with the simplicity of Cruz’s issues. If life were that simple, prosperity would be just around the corner. But there is a much larger danger lurking in the words on Cruz’s web site.

Cruz’s proposition around “Rein in Washington” is a fair position to hold.  Clearly times change and new organizations might do a better job of tackling issues on taxes, education, energy, housing and urban affairs, and commerce.  The rhetoric of “eliminating” sends a dangerous message that these activities are unnecessary rather than their tasks might be accomplished better some other way.

If one takes Cruz at his stated words, one should get ready for Cruz’ religious views to become the law of the land. On non-religious topics, Cruz wants the rules changed so that concentrations of power and wealth can grow without any implied or specific responsibilities to society as a whole.

Donald Trump might be a business person with big question marks on his emotional fitness as commander in chief, but Ted Cruz lacks any perspective on a greater society and the roles of social inclusion and globalization of the world economy.

If you are afraid of Donald Trump, you would be wise to petrified of a President Cruz.

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.

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.