Make America What Again?

Donald Trump speaks in Gettyburg

Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump, speaking at a campaign rally in Gettysburg, Pa. on Saturday, denied accusations against him of sexual assault, and also outlined a plan to eliminate what he sees as wasteful spending in the government. Photo: AP

I can’t, for the life of me, see why Donald Trump is the Republican Party candidate for President. I mean I can count but still. As someone who considers himself conservative (with the spirit of a progressive) he doesn’t represent any of the tenets of with any sort of substantive conviction. He’s not a politician at all that’s for sure. And as it pertains to public policy he’s but a citizen like you and me… An ornery, classless, hubris character nonetheless but a citizen.

At a very basic level, I don’t even see Trump as even having read the constitution… I have – every word. And to think that he even wants to sign up for a job that’s intended to protect the document itself is absurd. He doesn’t speak like someone who is a student of the constitution – or the federalist papers for that matter – or a student of modern democracy. He doesn’t speak like someone who understands real problems, let alone their solutions. Hell, he doesn’t really act like an adult. I can’t take him seriously as a candidate.

Though, very recently, I can finally take his supporters seriously.

It took all the way until second Presidential debate of this election season but I finally understand their frustration. Trump has shrouded himself in the cloak of the answer to their concerns; as one who speaks truth to power.

I get it now. They want someone of note to finally tell ‘Congress’ they’re incompetent. Not that it’s broken but that they’re absolute ‘losers’ and that Congress is rigged. They want someone to make Washington’s ineptitude a topic and a policy proposal. He is seen as someone who does that.

Do Trump supporters actually think the country’s weak enough to fall victim to what they consider to be 10 solid years of a deaf Washington? Do they think our issues will tip the scales towards national instability without factoring 230 other years of absolute strength. Is it because they’re scared? I have a theory. I don’t think it’s fear. They’re just confused.

Make American Great Again isn’t an ode to the 50s (wink); it’s an ode to an America that wasn’t nuanced by the dense and complicated issues we face today. Today we deal with debt and taxes and immigration and healthcare and terrorism and multi-cultures in a way the country NEVER has before. The large (and loyal) demographic of Trump supporters suggests a culture that simply hasn’t been forced to have these detailed conversations.

It’s all so complicated and hard to process now. We can’t just deport everyone we think is a threat. We can’t torture who we think is a terrorist. We can’t just apply extreme vetting to large swaths of people eager to enter our wonderful country. We can’t just hand everyone a gun. We now have to take a precision knife to dissecting these issues now and not just machete away at them. Not anymore.

Trump supporters are tired of HAVING to think about these complex concepts and equally (if not more) tired of Washington not having any suitable answers. I finally don’t blame them for thinking they want Trump. I do blame them for not seeing the forest for the trees but that, again, is too hard for them.

They won’t admit it but they really just want to Make American Easy Again.

13 Tough Interview Questions for 2016 Presidential Candidates

White House - We're Hiring

White House – We’re Hiring

So tell me, why the hell should I hire you? The job description is pretty straight forward. You’ll be responsible for establishing a country’s goals and strategies and presiding over the execution of that vision. The president is the commander-in-chief of the military and responsible for insuring that the laws passed by Congress are executed and enforced as written.

Given those responsibilities, I’ve put together some revealing questions for choosing a president.

  1. What does continuing our counter-terrorism strategy look like in 2017?
  2. You will undoubtedly command our military as president. How do you choose the words to comfort the families of fallen troops?
  3. What would you tell 2016 college graduates about the opportunities ahead?
  4. What is the purpose of the constitution in your administration?
  5. Where should our Social Security dollars be going?
  6. Other than keeping America safe, what are your first 100 days of priorities?
  7. Speaking of keeping America safe, how do you ensure Americans are safe in their own communities?
  8. As an American, what are your thoughts on the current president?
  9. Is the United States education platform suited for the future?
  10. Who are your cabinet picks? Particularly, Vice President & Secretary of State?
  11. How did you choose your Chief of Staff?
  12. If a Supreme Court position becomes available, who would you have in mind to fill it?
  13. Are we on the right track with healthcare?

Depending on each candidates answers the followups could be all over the place. But I think these questions lay a foundation for their philosophies about running the country.

What say you?

Sooo…? Now what?

President Obama & Vice President Biden (4 More Years)

President Obama & Vice President Biden (4 More Years)

I think Obama understands how weak he’s looked in the last couple years. America’s “just-get-it-done” mentality is understandably & unapologetically disgusted with the excuses of a “do-nothing-congresses”. Those days are now over. And while recently this is less of an excuse than a proud badge of honor to Reid & Boehner’s efforts, it still doesn’t get US anywhere.

I think the President finally knows that. He’s read enough Lincoln lore and FDR fodder to understand that excuse don’t make for good legacy. I think over the next couple months we will start to see him lean to the right… and heavily. But make no mistake, this shift towards moderation will not be in the name of compromise but in the name of his legacy.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

He’s made it very clear he holds no allegiance to the Democrats in the Senate. Time and time again he has shown an ability to let fellow liberals down. But let’s face it… Reid’s liberal staunchness is making him worthless. So much so that I will probably only mention him once this year… and in the article to the left.

In most multi-term administrations the goal is simple: legacy. And in order to save his legacy he will have to start a regular dialogue directly with Boehner on these fiscal matters and begin to move the dial. And as hard as it will be for both men to stomach it, they need each other.

Remember, most politicians ceded the fact that nothing was going to get done until the next election. In fact, it literally became the answer to quite a few tough questions asked of Republicans. Well, we’ve had our election. That day has come and gone. Now you will see an unconventional effort on the part of the President to push legislation through thoughtfully but overall swiftly.

The banks and markets are betting that this, same-ol-same-ol, administration will let them down… and they are responding in kind.

The Tea Party has done 1 thing right: they held the line on austerity. Often perceived as obstructionism, I’m beginning to simply believe it to be standing firmly on principle. Everyone now knows what the Tea Party is made of. And in that regard, the President now has a mandate.

If the bulk of the country has handed matter of fiscal responsibility to a ultra-conservative House then so be it. I think the President should respond in kind and adopt the House’s current edict of fiscal responsibility. Not his own flavor or fiscal responsibility but that of the Tea Party’s.

It’s important to remember something: the People (capital “P”) have spoken. En masse the President has been chosen (again) to shape the agenda of our nation’s policies. Also, in resounding accord, the People have chosen Boehner’s House to continue holding the line on this great nation’s purse strings. As long as both the House and our President understand that there is no problem this nation can not solve.

The Easiest Job in the World

Let’s see: No recession, 1 war over, 1 war ending, 30+ months of job growth, steady unemployment drops, almost 18 tax-breaks for the folks, solvent banks, some paid off bailout loans, huge steps in healthcare reform… and oh yeah, Bin Laden…

Things are not just “not bad”… Things are actually pretty sweet. Which begs the question – What in the world does a Mitt Romney administration really have to do?

The Easiest Job in the World

The Easiest Job in the World

IF Mitt wins, and I mean IF, he’d have the easiest job in the world. Eliminate capital gains, “continue” drilling at current rates (with some partisan caveats of course), wait for GDP increases. Check, check & check.

The honest truth is the economy has indeed stabilized but we all know the “elephant” in the room ~ the debt. The nation’s debt is indeed an issue but a real laissez faire practitioner would simply count on markets to cure their own ales and tax revenues would somehow trickle up into our debtors pockets. That’s obviously not a prudent approach and it in no way reflects the pains that constituents continually lob at politicians. I have always said “laissez faire” makes are great name for a novel but it is no way to run an economy. Our debt problem is only going to be solved by eliminating obvious upon waste and applying raised revenue to our principle debtors… AND THAT’S BEFORE ANY LEGISLATION IS CREATED OR SIGNED.

As for the framework Romney is proposing, capital gains taxes are on the chopping block. Essentially, the elimination of these tax revenues becomes money that the government will no longer have access to ~ they become funds that the individual can then decide to spend, invest or save. However, economists are continuing to argue whether capital gains should be taxed or not. There is also conversation around whether they even spur the necessary growth needed to propel the economy long-term. What’s hardest to comprehend is how a Presidential candidate would make so broad a proposal for so small of a segment of Americans. It’s my thinking that the best it could do is bring paper money back to the states but we know who that benefits.

Entrepreneurs that are hiring are looking to expand their businesses or accommodate sustained growth. The amount of those entrepreneurs that even generate capital gains is small. In fact, 95+% of small business owners generate less than $200,000 of earned personal income. None of which has anything to do with capital gains. But we’ll just have to trust Romney’s administration with the numbers and hope that they’ll balance out.

I don’t want it to sound like I think Mitt is the reason the recession hit. Paper money is the reason we found ourselves in a recession – but whatever, right. Mitt is not like Bush. He obviously understands money markets. He has a proven track-record as a business leader. I don’t think we’d see the same legislation (or lack thereof) from a Romney administration as we did with Bush. I’m not concerned about a “return” at all. There’s no money in a return – nor any growth. What Mitt will do is try a different top-down approach that encourages markets to bless the general public with jobs. His talking points lean towards trusting the private sector more; which I agree with. But he has not demonstrated, to me, any lessons learned.

I would love to hear Mitt talk more about his own party and their flaws. I have always said if he was more transparent about how this latest recession was created I’d be more inclined to support him. He has not.

What I would caution more Americans to consider is Mitt’s record as a public servant – where you can not fire your team. This is more indicative of what type of President he will be rather than how he could be.

At governing a state he had some modest gains. I liked the moves made on education but they were to primarily budget-based reductions. I liked where the state ended up on jobs but Mitt’s made a point NOT to give the current President the same credit for doing exactly what he did… but on a national scale. One need only look as far as Duval Patrick’s comments at the 2012 Democratic National Convention to see Mitt Romney did not leave Massachusetts in tip top shape.

Touting “reaching across the aisle” is not really a sign of governing – especially when your legislature is 80+% democrat. Frankly that says more about an ability to let the most powerful party control both the agenda AND the execution. My concern is the most powerful party may be the Republican Party which means they will run all over him. That’s not good for America. And although Mitt himself may be good for the country his party is his baggage.

The Tea Party has shown itself to be destructive and obstructive. While I totally understand their concerns as constituents they have no place is honest legislative conversations. They have rooted their cause is opposition and not principle.

I think Mitt Romney is fully capable of performing the duties of President. But we have 1 already.

Mitt is a great business leader. And maybe that’s exactly what America needs but let’s admit something. His agenda is merely reversing policies that were solely put in place to reverse damages caused by his own party. Until Mitt draws a stark line in the sand between how the recession occurred and how his policies would be different he will just be another partisan pundit with no BIG agenda… just talking points.

D*mn… Chris Christie Was Right

While making my Sunday political rounds I noticed the good Governor Chris Christie on the talk-shows talking up Romney for the first Presidential debate. Christie quoted: America would wake up on Thursday and see a turned around campaign and be talking about Romney for the next 33 days.

Most right-leaning pundits, even while attempting to hide their elephant trunk lapel pins, simply couldn’t find it in their hearts to talk noise. You just don’t do that, right. Raising expectations for your candidate is a no-no. However, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey simply didn’t get this memo ~ claiming Romney would win and win big.

Crowley: Memo to Chris Christie -- did you get the memo?

Crowley: Memo to Chris Christie — did you get the memo?

And what do you know… Romney won big. Romney jabbed, with no upper cuts, his way to a victory. Obama weaved all night and the only rounds he won came on technicalities – which we’ll discuss later.

Obama clearly didn’t bring his “A” game to tonight’s first 2012 Presidential Debate. He’ll need some bomb jobs numbers on Friday to make up for it.

I think his focus was demonstrating and defending his record – which he did successfully. What he didn’t do is shut Romney down… even once. The optics simply did not work in the President’s favor. Just 1 strength play would have been a good move. I saw prudence tonight but not much strength.

The only thing that could help his “performance” tonight is fact-checkers – enter the technical points. There were a number of faux-paus mentioned by the good governor but I’ll let the folks that get paid for fact-checking deal with that overnight tonight.

And let’s not forget Romney literally walked away from some of his campaign rhetoric to make it through tonight’s debate. In the most sinister voice I can muster…

Well played Govna… well played.

He was definitely prepared though. I will gladly give him that. Much in the same way I wanted the Chicago Bears to score 40 points on the Cowboys Monday night, I wanted this loss to stick in the President’s mind so he will never allow it to occur again. I’m a fan of the Cowboys and our President but I need this to sting.

Where Romney fell a little short was refuting the successes of the President. Essentially, ignoring hard-fought advancements in favor of doubling down on Republican values for the sake of doubling down on Republican values. Though the fun part for Republicans is they don’t have to. There is a construct that exists now where the accomplishments of the previous Congress must be ignored in order to gain control in 2013.

But it’s not their job to talk about how good a job the President may have done. That’s the President’s job.

Familiarity breeds contempt.

Unfortunately, I think we saw that tonight. Romney didn’t use the typical “Mr. President, with all due respect…” statement as much as I’d like. He treated Obama like any other ashy “candidate” and not an sitting President.

Stodgy, stuff-shirted, George Will conservatives might say this President doesn’t deserve to be addressed that was but in my 31 years as an American I simply disagree. Obama is your President too Governor Romney. It also tells me a culture of disrespect for this President is no longer brewing but bread. But whatever.

While that strategy will not fly again it appeared to be effective tonight. I’m sure Governor Christie won’t let us down reminding us he is a New Jersey sooth-sayer.

And now for a little Monday-morning quarterbacking:

Obama should have used terms like “As President we did XYZ…” more. He would have benefitted greatly if he began every retort or point this way. Do not assume we “know” you as President ~ command it.

Phrases like the following score big and frankly hold the Clintonesque qualities that Obama so craves:

  • “Our Administration achieved…”
  • “Through our work with the blah, blah, blah agency…”
  • “Governor Romney won’t mention that in Massachusetts…”

…to name a few.

Time For A New Sheriff?

So the Dallas Morning News steps up to the plate and issues a half-throated endorsement of Mitt Romney. I say self-throated because like any good Republican… they don’t really like Mitt Romney that much 😉

Good read though. Although when I clicked the link I didn’t see the section on Romney’s public office accolades. Oh well ~ maybe there are so many that they’ll be in part II.

Editorial: Dallas Morning News endorses Mitt Romney for president

Editorial: Dallas Morning News endorses Mitt Romney for president

I also didn’t see anything about the 4.5M jobs gained in the last 3 years, the paid-for tax cuts for the middle class or any of the military or trade advancements made. Again, I guess those are all slated for part II.

DOH! What am I saying? A media outlet shouldn’t be subjected to cherry-picking it’s objective facts when endorsing a candidate. My apologies. I have admit, I always find it odd when a newspaper endorses a political candidate ~ even though you’ll never see a television station (directly) do so. I guess it would be improper for a new provider to express interest in a political candidate’s success in a race. O_o That’s what bloggers do.

But as far as the article in question is concerned, the most telling line in the article is the one about…

“Cleaning up that mess, however large, was what Americans trusted to Obama.”

This excerpt and Obama’s own haunting words about the “1-term proposition” are the most honest arguments opposing voters can take to their respective polling stations. If I pay a man to do a job I expect him to deliver, right. Totally understood if you go into that booth a vote on results. I only ask that you consider ALL of the results. If you take an honest look at what’s actually been accomplished you may be surprised.

Then take an honest look at the negatives… and how they affect you.

I will admit the junior-senator from Illinois was simply not previously equipped to deal with the massively tall order Americans inherited from an already bloated and conceited government. But to sabotage a sitting president to ensure his (and consiquently a nation’s) economic demise is simply no fertile ground for an argument against the advancements gained. To ensure a Democratic president doesn’t get the opportunity to fix Republican-minded messes is just sad.

Not Elegantly Stated

Funny thing is, these comments are not likely to woo any more or less voters than any of the previous foot-in-mouth remarks/gaffes. Dude spoke the truth. 47% (d)on’t pay an income tax… so that message will mesh right along with Tea Party rhetoric. Great job, Mitt.

Dumb Mitt Romney Quotes ~ Top 10 Dumbest Mitt Romney Quotes So Far

Top 10 Dumbest Mitt Romney Quotes So Far

Where he’s being a little obtuse, in my opinion, is the dependents he speaks of are veterans who can no longer work, senior citizens who have retired, Americans with disabilities, good people who simply are not educated enough to make a huge splash in the work force and more. Even sadder is that the “and more” is also anyone who can bend the tax code enough to not have to pay an income tax every year ~ which means folks earning $80,000 or more who fit right in that number.

His comments are intellectually dishonest, obtuse and bias towards with similarly privileged backgrounds. I can’t wait to bequeath to my kids everything I’ve earned or learned.

It’s not a bad thing to hand to your children both monetary and cultural capital. But if I ever hear any of them bad-mouthing a class of less-fortunate individuals… I’ll kick their asses… Sorry, not elegantly stated.

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