Obamacare Repeal?

The disaster known as Obamacare is still with us. Mind you, it’s more like a corpse than a living thing, with insurance companies abandoning it on a regular basis. But it’s still here and must be dealt with. Democrats may defend it, but that’s only because it’s their own creation. It’s more than the typical train wreck; it’s more like . . .

So the disaster is now in Republican laps to figure out what to do, although Democrats will issue warning after warning about trying to do anything to change it or replace it.

Obamacare defenders are out in force at townhall meetings, trying to shout down any attempt to repeal and replace. Much of it seems to be an organized and well-funded effort to intimidate. Republican congressmen and senators have to be prepared for that intimidation:

Making promises in a campaign has always been easy; attempting to fulfill them isn’t quite as simple sometimes. Obamacare is a prime example:

Republicans have this habit of making a sweeping promise, then can’t agree on how to carry it out. That seems to be what’s happening again. I do understand the complexity they are dealing with, but I also understand how those who have elected Republicans to do their job can get frustrated with them.

While we need to be patient to ensure that the Obamacare dismantling is handled properly, it definitely must be dismantled. Any backtracking on that basic belief by elected officials will be an outright betrayal of the voters.

Don’t Do Stupid Stuff

The new Congress is now seated and ready for business. Already the Republicans have moved forward with repealing Obamacare. They put that provision inside a budget bill that doesn’t allow a filibuster. Maybe they are finally learning how to govern.

The Democrats find themselves in an unusual situation after this past election:

Democrat leadership is at a historic low, and prospects for the future are not the greatest:

With electoral devastation all around him, President Obama seems oblivious to the carnage:

He’s giving indications he will not go away quietly. He plans to live in Washington and speak out whenever he thinks the country needs his “wisdom.” It could make for an interesting next four years:

My concerns about a Trump presidency remain. He has made some good choices for his cabinet, seems poised to approve the repeal-and-replace strategy on Obamacare, and I’m grateful for his solidarity with Israel.

The big question for me will always be his character. One never knows what to expect from him. We could be in for a surreal ride:

Yet haven’t the past eight years been a sort of Twilight Zone as well? If Trump follows through and reverses Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders and actually puts a good person on the Supreme Court to fill Antonin Scalia’s seat, some of my concerns will be lessened.

Now, if only he will see that Vladimir Putin is not really a man to be admired . . .

That’s very good advice. Will he take it?

The Election: Positives & Negatives

We avoided one national disaster last night, but we may have created another one. Yes, I know that will sound like sour grapes to some of you, but while I am glad for one result, please forgive me for not being elated with the other. Let me explain.

The Positives

Positive #1

clintonsThe long national nightmare known as the Clintons may now have ended for good. No one who puts Biblical principles and constitutional government at the foundation of life in America can be unhappy about that.

Having endured eight years of Bill, another eight with Hillary at the helm would have been practically unendurable. Everything I hold dear would have been attacked from the highest office in the land, so seeing her come crashing down is extremely gratifying.

The only thing that would make this picture complete is to now see an indictment for all she has done to undermine national security. If that should ever appear imminent, though, as long as Barack Obama is in office, she will probably receive a preemptive pardon. You see, he would be implicated as well.

So, yes, I am relieved that we can now dismiss that artificial family from national politics.

Positive #2

obama-arrogant-lookThe result was a repudiation of the Obama years. Americans fed up with his goal of “transforming” the nation into his own image said a loud “stop!”

The damage of the last eight years will not be undone easily. The culture continues to decline overall. Only a fresh infusion of a vibrant Christian witness can make the difference and reverse some of what has transpired. It remains to be seen if the Christian community any longer has that vibrancy or whether it has sold out to politics.

Positive #3

senate-chamberRepublicans maintained control of both houses of Congress. While this doesn’t guarantee that Obamacare is doomed or that the Supreme Court will now be in the hands of constitutionalists, it at least offers a reprieve from progressive activism—if they know how to use their majority. That’s always the big question.

Having a numerical majority is one thing; using it wisely is another entirely. The track record is decidedly mixed. The one excuse they won’t have anymore is that they don’t have the White House.

Positive #4

Republicans continued to dominate in the state-level elections. From what I’ve learned thus far, they increased their control in a number of states. This, and the control of Congress, was what I was hoping for. We still have a federal system, so not everything is supposed to emanate from Washington, DC. Republican control in a majority of the states offers hope.

The Negatives

Negative #1

Donald Trump Addresses GOP Lincoln Day Event In MichiganDonald Trump is now the president-elect. Winning the election last night doesn’t change who he is. I voted third-party and don’t repent of that vote. I continue to believe that he is unfit for the office that he now will occupy.

My concerns won’t go away. He is the supreme egotist who can’t handle any perceived insult. Will he now conduct a purge of anyone who wasn’t solidly in his camp?

He is blatantly immoral. Christians who think he has changed are going to be disappointed. All this talk about his being a “baby Christian” who only needs to grow in the faith is naive. In order to grow in the faith, one must have the faith first. There is no indication that he does.

constitutional-marriageAs I’ve said countless times, don’t depend on him to advance any agenda that puts pro-life or traditional marriage as a priority. He won’t fight for Supreme Court nominees of that ilk and he already has a propensity for letting everyone decide what they want to do with sex/gender issues.

Put not your trust in his promises.

His knowledge of issues is narrow and superficial. We need to hope that those who surround him have a better grasp of reality than he does.

Trump’s vision (such as it is) of America is not at all grounded in an understanding of constitutional limitations on the executive power. Will he decide to use his own executive orders to accomplish what he wants?

He is no conservative. He has no real understanding of the intellectual basis of conservatism and why it is essential for how governing should proceed.

I still consider him to be borderline emotionally unstable; who knows how that will manifest itself in his administration? Anyone who promotes crazy conspiracy theories, as he has done countless times, is not to be trusted.

Negative #2

Many who voted for Trump did so out of anger and frustration. It’s interesting that many who voted for him don’t really like him. Exit polls reveal that. They just couldn’t stand the prospect of a Hillary presidency. He enters the presidency as one of the most unliked and/or despised winners in American history.

While there is a proper place for anger and frustration, neither makes for a positive vision of the future. The national mood is dark, the culture is still on a downward spiral, and Donald Trump is not the solution.

Negative #3

christians-politicsMany sincere Christians have so thrown their lot in with Trump that it will be hard to disentangle themselves from him when he goes off the reservation. I continue to be deeply concerned that the Christian witness has suffered and will suffer more by our connection with him. Only time will tell how great that damage may be.

Too many Christians have followed the siren song of self-appointed prophets who have declared Trump to be God’s anointed. Be careful. While I do believe God can use the Nebuchadnezzars of this world for His purposes, I’m not going to rush into some silly confidence that Trump’s election is God-ordained.

People made this choice, not God. He may use the choice, and I pray He will, but don’t saddle Him with whatever Trump may do; that will only stain God’s reputation in the eyes of an unbelieving world when he disappoints—as surely he will.

So where does that leave me? Relieved that Hillary Clinton won’t be the president. Concerned that Donald Trump will be. We must remain vigilant and not go off into some fantasyland about how wonderful things will be from now on.

The battle is ongoing.

The End Is Near

I’m at the point with this election that I would just like to ignore it the rest of the way. My initial plan was to do so and say that today’s blog would be my final word on it. Tempting as that is, I will . . . reluctantly . . . continue to offer comments until that fateful day when the decision is made. Never in American history have the two major options been so awful.

sorry-candidates

If this election doesn’t deter the next generation from believing that government service can be an honorable profession, I don’t know what will.

negatives

As I’ve said before, I’ve looked forward to the day when I could vote to deny Hillary Clinton the presidency. In last night’s debate, she couldn’t have been more clear that she sees the Supreme Court as the enforcer, not of the Constitution, but of the progressive agenda. She also made it clear (in case anyone had any doubt) that she believes in abortion on demand, defending Planned Parenthood’s atrocities with all her breath.

How can I not vote against her?

Many Christians this morning are lauding Donald Trump for what they think was his strong pro-life stance in the debate. I acknowledge that those were the strongest statements he has made yet on the subject, but how heartfelt were they?

I can hear the voices now: just accept him at his word; he’s on our side; he will appoint the right justices to the Court; the country will be saved.

I would like to believe him, but he remains, to me, utterly unbelievable. He’s performing his part to try to win votes. He’s succeeding with many Christians who desperately want Clinton defeated. Yet I still cannot support him.

First, even if he were to nominate a solid person for the Court, that person would have to get past the Senate. It will take 60 votes to allow the vote to go forward. That, in itself, would be slightly on the miraculous side. It also would require that President Trump go all out for such a nominee. I don’t think he would do so. He’s the dealmaker who will put out a good nominee knowing that person won’t make it, then give the Democrats the kind of nominee they will accept.

If you think Donald Trump will save the Court, I think you are being fooled.

It’s not just that. I look at the total package. Trump is a mess. I’ve written often about his personal morality, or lack thereof. Based on his character and his overall history, do you really think that all those women coming forward now to tell their tales of how Trump foisted himself on them are lying?

Trump is a walking massive ego. He thinks he can do whatever he wants, not only with women, but in every area of life. He, like Hillary, thinks he is entitled. When he says those women have to be lying because they aren’t attractive enough to get his attention, what does that say about him? In other words, if they were attractive enough, he would go right ahead and do what they are accusing him of.

He is truly reprehensible. Why any woman would vote for him is beyond me.

who-needs-them

His advisors have come up with plans to “drain the swamp.” Sounds good. Who’s going to drain the Trump Swamp first?

He continually attacks and demeans anyone who isn’t 100% on board his ego. I understand why Paul Ryan encouraged Republicans running for Congress to do whatever they feel is necessary to win their races, even if it means distancing themselves from the top of the ticket.

The only thing that’s going to stop Hillary’s drive to continue Obama’s transformation of America is a Congress that says “no.” It’s essential that Republicans maintain control of both chambers. Trump is a drag on that effort.

down-ballot

If Republicans lose the Congress, I will lay the blame on Trump.

Polls show, at this point, that Trump’s unpopularity has not yet dragged everyone else down with him. Voters appear to be making the distinction between him and other Republicans running for the House and Senate. Will that be the case on election day?

Prediction: Hillary Clinton will be the next president. That won’t be caused by people like me who cannot stomach Trump; it will be caused by the candidate himself. Almost any other Republican who ran in the primary would have trounced a candidate as corrupt as Hillary. Only Trump could possibly have lost to her.

I won’t vote for Donald Trump. I will, however, vote for every other Republican on my Florida ballot. President Clinton (oh, how I never wanted to hear those words again) needs to be challenged on every policy on every level.

end-is-near

Let’s just hope it’s not the end in the wrong sense. The end of this election season would be gratifying; the end of the nation not so much.

A 2016 Election Best-Case Scenario?

This has to be the dreariest election season I’ve ever experienced. Republicans have flirted with political suicide in their choice of Donald Trump. Democrats have decided that a woman with no real accomplishments other than being a former First Lady and who ought to be indicted for criminal activities should be their standard-bearer.

Could it be any worse?

After an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox, in which Hillary declared that FBI director Comey concluded she never lied about her private server and e-mails, the whole world was laughing. That led to her attempting to provide an excuse of sorts: they were talking “past” each other; she just “short-circuited.” Yes, there is definitely a short circuit occurring in her brain:

Short-Circuited

Just imagine how this excuse can be used in other circumstances:

Hillary Defense

As for Trump, well, I can’t keep up with his latest gaffes. By the time I’ve finished writing this blog, he may have committed another one, so why try to say a certain misstep is the “latest” when it already may be surpassed by another.

Never have polls indicated such an absolute disgust with both major candidates. Neither is considered trustworthy or truthful.

Negative Numbers

May I tell you what would be the best-case scenario for this election, in my opinion?

First, I would like to see the Republicans hold the House and the Senate. With Trump at the top of the ticket, many are saying that is in jeopardy. Yet voters need to grasp this essential fact: the presidency is not everything; Congress is the branch delegated by the Constitution to write and pass laws. Disgust with Trump should not stop anti-Trump Republicans/conservatives from voting for good congressmen and senators.

Second, I would like to see a record number voting for the presidential nominees, but in a different sense: I would like that number to be the lowest in presidential election history as a percentage of the eligible voters. That would make it clear that the majority of voters have expressed their disdain for the choices given them. Such a record-low turnout might send a strong message to both of the parties: we’re not happy with rules that effectively rig elections.

It’s obvious now that the Democrats, with their super-delegates and the Clinton Machine in full swing, chose Hillary over Sanders well before the primaries even began. He never had a chance.

On the other side, Trump was able to take advantage of the rules established by the Republican party to outlast his opponents. How about some changes, such as a nominee having a history of being a Republican? Or how about only allowing Republicans to choose their nominee in the primaries? I know, that’s too much common sense to be seriously considered.

Electing a president should be a serious matter, not a choice between two equally unqualified, and possibly criminal, nominees.

Big Chair

The best-case scenario is simply this: that a Republican Congress can keep either Hillary or Trump under control. Wish I could offer something better, but we have to think long-term now. The next four years will be a nightmare regardless of who “wins” this election.

Common Sense on Refugees

America has always been the most accepting of nations with respect to immigrants. The doors have almost always been open wide. In the early years, there were no immigration restrictions at all. The real restrictions only applied to citizenship. Immigrants could come over, but if they wanted the privileges of citizenship, they had to meet certain requirements.

The period from approximately 1890-1917 was unprecedented in history as those teeming masses descended upon a country that held greater promise than what the immigrants could expect in their homelands.

After WWI, some restrictions were placed, but only in the manner of percentages from certain countries as concerns about the changing demographics came to the forefront, but compared to the rest of the world, we remained the “golden door” of opportunity.

So I have great sympathy for those who wish to flee persecution and find a safe place here. Yet wisdom must accompany that sympathy. This is, in a sense, a new world we are now confronting. Some of our leaders, though, don’t see it that way:

Huddled Masses

Most of those seeking to enter America are most assuredly not terrorists, but, as we now know in the Paris attacks, some of those involved with those attacks smuggled themselves in disguised as genuine refugees. Concern over the nature of this new immigration is sensible:

Refugee Roulette

A bipartisan bill has recently passed the House and is going to the Senate. It is not a drastic, xenophobic bill at all, but merely an attempt to tighten the vetting process. President Obama now finds himself fighting not only Republicans but many in his own party:

Where'd Everybody Go

Harry Reid already has threatened to filibuster this bill in the Senate. That’s to be expected from Harry Reid. Will enough Democrats abandon his sinking ship and come to their senses, allowing this bill to be sent to Obama’s desk? He will certainly veto it, yet there is a good chance his veto will be overridden this time.

Common sense needs to prevail here. “Common sense” and “Democrats” are not terms that automatically go together. May they be reunited in this case.

Republican Leadership (?) in Congress

John BoehnerJohn Boehner surprised everyone last week with his announcement that he would be stepping down as Speaker of the House and also retiring from Congress at the end of October. His speakership has been a source of great consternation for the more activist conservatives in the Republican party; his announcement brought them great relief.

The primary complaint against him has been his lack of strong leadership, an unwillingness to take on President Obama and the Democrat agenda. His response—as well as the response of Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader in the Senate—is that nothing they would have done could have accomplished anything because of the political hurdles they would have to overcome.

Their realism is understandable—to a point. Yes, to get any legislation passed, the Senate, first of all, would have to break any Democrat filibuster with 60 votes. As long as the Democrats hold firm, that won’t happen. If, perchance, a filibuster were to be broken and a bill sent to Obama, it would receive an immediate veto that would be near to impossible to override with the 67 votes necessary.

I understand those obstacles.

What has been lacking, though, with these surrenders before the fact, is courage and a determination to educate the public on the most important public policy issues.

Let’s take just one example: defunding Planned Parenthood. The strategies used to try to achieve this have been less than strategic. The votes have been nothing more than a public show, without any attempt to explain the urgency of the measure.

Republican leadership, with Boehner and McConnell as the point men, has done virtually nothing to accomplish this goal, surrendering preemptively. They provided absolutely no leadership, fearing public opinion of a possible government shutdown coming back on them.

First, the main reason why public opinion blames Republicans for a shutdown (which isn’t really a shutdown, but that’s for another day) is that Republicans allow the Democrats to frame the message. “Oh, look, Republicans’ insistence on defunding Planned Parenthood is shutting down the government! They are evil!”

True leadership would reframe that perception into “We have passed a bill that provides a budget for all government functions except giving taxpayer money to a private agency that tears apart the bodies of innocent children. President Obama wants those children to continue to be murdered in this grotesque way. Of course we have withheld funding. No civilized society should do otherwise.”

Such an approach would show principle, devotion to the sanctity of life, would educate the public, and put Obama on the spot to defend the indefensible. But the current leadership doesn’t have the stomach for that. Might I add that taking such a stance, explained in that way, might actually help in the coming election? Courage is in such short supply that many might respond to it positively.

I haven’t been a constant critic of Boehner; he did some good things, like inviting Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress. I applaud him for having done that.

Yet, even as he prepares to depart, he has harsh words for his conservative critics, getting Biblical by calling them “false prophets.” Be careful, sir. While there may be some on the conservative side who are unrealistic in their expectations of what can be accomplished while Obama still holds the reins of the executive branch, most are simply fed up and disgusted with your lack of a backbone in standing up to his unconstitutional actions.

Your Record

The selection of the new House leadership team will tell us what to expect in the near future. At the very least, I hope the Republicans will choose someone open to challenging the status quo.

Meanwhile, the next most welcome announcement would be Mitch McConnell’s retirement. A clean sweep is needed.