Hi, ‘Murica, how are you doing today? Spring is almost here, so that’s nice, and pretty soon we all get to indulge our inner Gaelic and celebrate St. Pat’s Day which as you might have guessed by all my references to Whisky is well up there as my personal favorite holiday. Thing is ‘Murica, we have this little thing going on with the ol’ presidential election that is just well…odd.
Most of my writing here at runningforthehillsblog has strived to be open-minded; to present both sides of a story while at the same time giving my thoughts on matters supported by fact and appropriately footnoted: Socratic argument, if you will.
Thing is, ‘Murica…and you know I love you, but…that doesn’t seem to be working lately. We have some pretty limited options this presidential election. A 24-hour news cycle combined with 3 second sound bites bears much of the responsibility since it is our primary means of electoral acumen. That said, our own hedonistic reality TV addled brains also bears some responsibility. So this time around I am going to treat this as more of a full blown opinion piece: though always bound in facts, there will be just a bit more of my own personal introspection on the matter this time around. Here’s my thoughts on the remaining candidates in the 2016 campaign, and I’m going to try to speak directly to each candidate and their supporters. As always, if I have upset everyone, I’m probably on the right track, so without further adieu, let’s begin!
1. The “I’ve paid my Dues” Candidate.
Hey, Hillary voters. I’ve got to say, you have got to be loving this election so far! Your only primary competitor is a self-avowed Socialist, and the Republican Gladiatorial Arena scares moderates so much you are pretty much guaranteed most of the “anything but Trump” vote in the general election. Certainly on paper, Hillary looks like she has the chops. Succeeded as a woman in a world dominated by men. Yale Law Grad. First Lady. US Senator. Controversial stint as Secretary of State. All that 1960’s-1970’s counter-culture activism you so love and adore (which is ironic given her early life Republican political participation, but I suppose if Ronald Reagan can have a revelation in early life and switch parties, she can too- though to be honest if the Communist Party and Saul Alinsky are your influences you are probably looking in the wrong place).(1)
Unfortunately, your candidate has more than her fair share of skeletons in her closet. So, hold on to your pant suits, Hillary voters, because we’re about to take a guilt trip down memory lane!
I won’t go too far, don’t worry, just back to 1996 which is about the time I started paying attention to politics (well the Gulf War in ’91 but just because my Uncle was over there, or the Berlin Wall falling, because I couldn’t figure what was so damned important on TV that would distract from my birthday and presents).
Back in 1996 in a visit to war torn Bosnia, Hillary made statements to the effect of having to dodge sniper fire on the tarmac after landing. The reasons for this statement are left to the reader, however the fact she said them, and that they were an absolute falsehood is undisputed by all reputable media outlets. Indeed, a young Bosnian girl was puzzled by Hillary’s statement, as she had time to recite a poem to the future presidential candidate at the airfield and didn’t feel the least bit threatened at the time. (2)
Let’s fast forward to 2012. Specifically Sept. 11, 2012. The US Mission in Benghazi, Libya was under attack. US Ambassador Chris Stevens, US Foreign Officer Sean Smith, and CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed as a result of enemy action by Islamic extremists. Now, I want to be clear: there really isn’t conclusive evidence out there one way or the other to establish that your candidate knew about the attacks in real time and opted not to support a relief mission. That’s not my gripe. My gripe is that when the story hit the press, the State Department tried to pawn it off as Islamic reaction to an anti-Islamic video posted on YouTube (oh, Hillary, that bleeding heart) when in fact it was a coordinated attack on a US facility. When the reality of the situation was made public, your candidate threw her lieutenant Susan Rice to the wolves to preserve her own political ambitions.
There were other casualties, of course. Media outlets quickly revealed CIA Director David Petraeus’ affair with his biographer, conveniently distracting the public from Hillary’s role to focus on Petraeus’ disclosure of classified information to an uncleared source, forcing his resignation, which brings me to…
No one disputes Hillary had an unapproved, unregulated server in her residence, and that it received classified information. Best case scenario, she is guilty of mishandling of classified information (aka disregard for protocol), a potential Federal misdemeanor, worst case she is guilty of divulging classified information to the enemies of the US through an unsecured server. For the record to you non-military folks, any of us peasants caught doing that would be sent to the Federal Pen. Clintons have different rules, I suppose. Either way, this is the best choice the Democrats offer you: a capable, albeit self-serving autocrat that would trample over her own grandmother for power.
Your best choice is currently under investigation by the FBI. With a democrat President and democratically appointed Attorney General. But she is against that cronyism in Washington, right?
Have fun with that.
2. The “Jesus Said” Candidate.
Well done on Iowa, Ted Cruz. You know its’ religious conservative voting masses very well, and simultaneously touched their hearts and exploited their fears with the panache of the very best of tele-evangelists. As a former resident of the Hawkeye State, as well as a former constituent of Congressman Steve King, I can testify to the personality of its’ religious conservatives. They are overflowing with Midwestern courtesy and rarely express religious convictions or politics to anyone they don’t know personally, but you can bet your cheese curds they are passionate about God, America, and Iowa; and they vote in large numbers.
Unfortunately Cruz supporters. I’m about to crash your Tea Party.
I get that you are passionate about Christianity and traditional values. Truly I do. I respect the hell out of anyone with the courage of their convictions, and conservative evangelical Christians are passionate about their beliefs without a doubt. Couple things real quick though.
First off, the Senate hates your candidate with a hellish fire. He has yet to be endorsed by any of his fellow Senators. Even close Tea Party friends. Wanna know why? Because he throws them under the bus at the very instant there is an advantage for Ted Cruz. Cruz is well known for carefully examining situations and turning them to his benefit – no matter who he has to hurt. For example, when his close Tea Party colleague Senator Tim Lee dared to cross the aisle to actually work on criminal justice reform, ol’ Ted lied about the intent of the bill, saying it “could result in more violent criminals being let out on the streets, and potentially more lives being lost.” His friend was left dumbstruck. (3)
So, for the sake of argument, let’s say Senator Cruz is actually elected as President. What exactly is he going to accomplish? The answer is nothing. As we all learned in high school, Presidents may propose laws, but it’s Congress that makes them, and Congress and Ted Cruz do not get along. To drive home the point, in his entire tenure as a US Senator, Cruz has only successfully sponsored one piece of legislation into law: Senate Bill 2195 – “A bill to deny admission to the United States to any representative to the United Nations who has been found to have been engaged in espionage activities or a terrorist activity against the United States.”(4)
Wow, Ted must have taken a Jeffersonian-level of political intrigue to make that one happen.
Granted, Senator Cruz has proved an excellent manipulator of the electoral process; not necessarily a bad quality in a politician. He is also very good at assessing people, telling them what they want to hear, and getting what he needs out of them, which is also not necessarily bad.
If you’re a psychopath, that is.
Don’t take my word for it, however. In a relatively recent article in Psychology Today, a respected neurologist all but declares it without fully saying it. In the article, Dr. Richard Cytowic goes into an informed discussion about how Cruz’s facial expressions rarely equate to what is coming out of his mouth. In essence, what the good doctor is saying is that if the eyes are the gateway to the soul, Cruz has eyes of a snake. (5)
I have severe doubts Ted Cruz feels your pain as a conservative Christian. I have severe doubts if he feels any emotions at all.
But, if you want a mental ill junior Senator despised by his own colleagues, and with a horrible success rate in his job as legislator as your next President, that’s your call.
Hell, even Donald Trump sees it, which brings me to…
3. The “Cult of Personality” Candidate.
Do we really have to talk about Trump?
Listen up Trumpateers. I get it. I love the man’s zero fucks given style too. He makes some hot daughters. That doesn’t qualify him to be President. Someone who is unable to ever, EVER admit he is wrong simply doesn’t need to possess nuclear launch codes.
But wait, you say! He is a very successful businessman! He can create jobs and build walls!
Ehhh, he’s not unsuccessful, I’ll give you that. He also has had a metric shit ton of failed business ventures, and didn’t exactly pull himself up by his bootstraps. So let’s go to the tail of the tape:
He’s a draft dodger. In fact he’s a five-time draft dodger. His medical excuse was “bone spurs” in his foot (in an Iowa campaign stop, he couldn’t recall which one). The rest were scholastic deferments, regrettably not uncommon in those days. By the time he came around again, his number was so far back in the draft that he had no worries about having to go to Vietnam.(6)
He was born into money. By his own statements, he was worth about $200,000 dollars when he graduated college in 1968 (basically a millionaire in today’s dollars). Through various, often strong-armed, real estate deals, some of which caught the attention of the Department of Justice, Trump built the empire he has today. Even so, while Trump has mostly been successful personally, according to the British magazine The Economist his “…performance has been mediocre compared with the stock market and property in New York”. (7)
He’s a bully. I don’t even need to footnote this one. He insults decorated war veterans and POW’s when he dodged his own responsibilities. He makes fun of people with physical disabilities. He shows the most basic lack of civility towards people in general, his fellow candidates in particular. Bullying and insults is this man’s bread and butter.
So, if the man lacks physical courage and is mediocre at business, relying on bullying tactics rather than skill, what is the draw?
I suppose because he says what is on his mind, and that is something that is sorely missing from politics. I appreciate that aspect of the man. You know who else said what was on his mind and didn’t give a damn what people thought? George Wallace. Joseph Stalin. Adolf Hitler.
Now, despite what his detractors say, Trump is no Hitler. But he certainly fits the bill for George Wallace. For those readers who don’t know George Wallace was the Governor of Alabama for like, at least 20 years, but most importantly for this discussion is the fact he ran as a staunch segregationist in the 1960’s; resisting integration of whites and black in college campuses in his state. Now, if you dig deep, or listen to Drive By Truckers, you’ll know that Wallace was actually very moderate prior to his first loss running for Governor. After that loss, he read the political tea leaves and ran on a segregationist platform and won the election.
He saw what people wanted, he gave it to them. Not because he truly believed in it, but because it got him what he wanted; power and public adoration.
So, if you want to vote for the candidate that tells you exactly what you want to hear, to excite your passions with exactly no substance and no plan, Trump is your man.
Although, there actually is a candidate with a very similar philosophy, save that he actually believes the bullshit that comes out of his mouth, which leads me to…
4. The “Fairy Godfather” Candidate.
Hey there, little feller. Go ahead and adjust your skinny jeans, I’ll wait. That white chocolate mocha too hot for your sensitive pursed lips? Well, at least it’s fair trade sourced, right? Oh you’re offended by my remark? Well, I’m sure there is a safe space you can go to on campus and get away from my micro aggression. I know you are probably “feeling the Bern” right now while your parents are forgoing their retirement plans to pay for your Master’s Degree in Interpretive Dance, but if you could hear me out, I’d like to explain to you how Bernie Sanders is the Democrat’s Ted Cruz and Donald Trump rolled into one.
Sanders’ socialist background is well known. As a student at the University of Chicago he joined the Youth People’s Socialist League. In Vermont he was a member of the People’s Party and the Liberty Union Party. He’s an independent only because you can’t get elected if you declare you are a member of the Communist Party. Even in Vermont.
One reason I’m not a fan of Bernie is that like Trump, he lacks physical courage. In a page taken from Donald’s handbook, he applied for “conscientious objector” status to avoid having to fight in Vietnam, and when his name came up again was too old get drafted.(8)
Bernie’s entire life has been dedicated to furthering a socialist agenda. He is an acolyte to that failed idea. I respect the man’s courage of conviction, and of all the candidates discussed so far, he is at least the most honest of them. I also agree with him on many of his identified issues – just not the solutions. Yes there is a growing economic gap between rich and poor. Yes, our manufacturing jobs are moving overseas, and as the son of a steel worker, I’m pretty pissed about that. The solution is not wealth redistribution, nor is it more taxation. Pay attention millennials, because this point is important: if you raise taxes on a business, they MOVE elsewhere. You want an example, just look at St. Louis.
I realize the reader will either agree or disagree with the above paragraph or disagree in accordance with their political viewpoints. However, if you think Bernie is going to change things, consider this:
Bernie has been in Congress (House and Senate) since 1990. That’s 26 years. In 26 years he has successfully sponsored just 3 bills into law. Two of those bills H.R. 5245, and S. 885, were naming/renaming US Post Offices, and the third S.893, was the Veteran’s COLA Bill (cost of living adjustment) for 2013.(9)
Now, I totally support S. 893, but that has all the controversy of passing The “Senators against the death or maiming of puppies and children in public schools” Act.
The reason why? Well like Ted Cruz, when you stand on rhetoric and are unwilling to compromise on anything ever, people tend to not like you or support you. That’s my main beef with Bernie: he won’t compromise in a system that is made for compromise. He wants to force his socialist beliefs down the country’s throat whether they believe in it or not.
As for all of you that are voting for Bernie because his promises to pay for your college education (which means I’m paying for your college education), I’ll leave you with this. Bernie’s wife Jane spearheaded a massive expansion of a small college in Vermont while serving as it’s president, convincing Burlington College to invest $10 million in funds from various state banks in the project. The project was a massive failure, and she was sacked as a result. Allegations of fraud were widespread. She did get a $200,000 severance package, however, which of course your candidate profited from.(10)
I wish I could provide more information about Bernie, good or bad, but the fact is despite my research into it, he hasn’t really done anything.
Dear reader, I like free stuff too. However, what you learn after you get out of academia is that nothing in life is free, and government subsidies drive UP costs, not DOWN. So don’t push the burden of your college education on ME. I earned mine. You want one, you do the same. This is the real world, and your candidate is totally ineffective in it. If you don’t believe me, just research on your IPhone, you know the one you have right now that was made by a huge US Corporation, manufactured overseas by poor labor, which wouldn’t exist without capitalism and free markets.
5. The “Block Checking” Candidate.
Oh Marco. I wanted to like you. I really did. I cheered out loud when you schooled Donald Trump on what the Nuclear Triad is during the republican presidential debate in December. Trumps’ confused expression was priceless. (11)
Then you had that robotic moment where you repeated yourself on stage multiple times…then there was that stuff with Donald Trumps hands.
If you are like me, you like (or more accurately liked) Marco Rubio because he had a very American immigrant family success story, was articulate and knowledgeable, was a balanced conservative, and because he had a good shot at winning both Florida and large numbers of Hispanics to the Republican side in general election. As the election process has drawn out however, it’s becoming ever more clear that his chances of winning are becoming slim to none, even in his home state.
Plus, like Cruz and Sander, he hasn’t really done anything. In the interest of fairness. Rubio has passed one piece of legislation into law as a Senator. S. 802 “Girl Count Act” of 2015. So, you know, there’s that.(12)
Unfortunately, the primary process has just shown that Senator Rubio just isn’t ready for prime time. Right now Marco has all the attraction of luke-warm coffee. I’ll take it if offered sure, but don’t really enjoy it. So to Senator Rubio, I say this: go back to the Senate and put some more time in, and I’ll be glad to here you out in the next 4 – 8 years. Besides that’s I’m not going to waste a lot of time on you, simply because I expect you’re going to suspend your campaign within the next week.
To close, Senator Rubio’s time on the stage does serve a central point to today’s blog. Senators make poor candidates. That’s because they live in a world of mostly rhetoric, and if they do successfully reach across the isle and pass a piece of legislation, they don’t really have to deal with the after-effects.
Governors however, do.
6. The “Hey, just standing over here, being highly qualified and all” Candidate.
The is one candidate left that has pretty much been the adult in all of the Republican debates. Unfortunately, the news media isn’t interested in qualifications, or candidates acting with dignity, it’s interested in ratings. So while Trump, Cruz, Bush, and Rubio slugged it out with brash comments, on stage antics, and one-upmanship, Governor Kasich, has stood by quite, professional, and determined; answering questions when asked, not diving into the fray getting points in whenever he has the chance. So without further ado, lets talk about John.
Experience? Hmmm lets see? Well Governor Kasich was in the House of Representatives from 1983 to 2001, rising to be both the Chairman of the Armed Service Committee and Chairman of the House Budget Committee during his tenure. So you know, the two most important committees in Congress. No biggie. He was also instrumental in passing welfare reform and the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. That working with the other party (in this case with a sitting Democratic President) to accomplish goals.(13)
How about bills passed into law? He has 6 by his on account, and was the co-sponsor on 336 successful pieces of legislation. Those 6 were not US Postal Service Office names either. Here a three quick examples(14):
- H.R. 2014 – Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997
- H.R. 2015 – Balanced Budget Act of 1997
- H.R. 3734- Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996
For those of you who are veteran’s; while Kasich was considered relatively hawkish militarily, he also championed fiscal responsibility with military spending, cutting excessive spending on the B-2, and A-12 bomber programs. So, the whole F-35 thing? Yeah, he’ll put that crap on the chopping block real quick.
What about his tenure as Governor? In his first election in 2010 he won 66 of 88 counties, with notable Tea Party backing. Once again, he took a balanced approach to accomplish goals, accepting the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) without much complaint, and acknowledging climate change as a legitimate issue though disagreeing that the EPA should be in charge of regulating energy plants. He has also been a proponent of professional policing standards. The result? Despite losing some Tea Party support, in his reelection he won 86 of 88 of Ohio’s counties. (13)
Not that he doesn’t have his issues, certainly. If Kasich actually makes it past the primaries he will have to answer legitimate questions about his time at Lehman Brothers before it’s collapse in 2008 (he was not on an executive board by his own claims). He has come out against teacher’s unions, and is firmly pro-life, which will certainly be off-putting to some as much as it will make him look more favorable to others.
Point is, the man at least knows what it’s like to govern, understands the issues facing the country, and will work to accomplish goals. The only other candidate in this piece that can claim the same is Hillary Clinton, and she has a distressing penchant towards lying.
7. Closing Thoughts
I didn’t write this to support Kasich, despite the title. I wrote this to impart that you, the voter, do not have to fall victim to the media’s attempt to tell you which candidate to vote for. I hope you will take the time to examine your candidate not just on what they are saying. Examine their record. Examine their policies. Most importantly though, examine their character. Richard Nixon on paper would have seemingly made a good President, but his character proved that not to be the case. Character matters. When a candidate tells you what you want to hear, do they actually have the ability, the character, and the political experience to pull it off, or are you being fed a load of fertilizer?
Happy Voting, ‘Murica.