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.

Pondering the President’s Policies

Some random thoughts today about the recent highlights of the Obama administration.

The Iran deal looks like it’s going through. This is the latest in a long line of great deals brokered by this president:

Really Bad Deals

Our president’s dubious accomplishments have spanned both the foreign and domestic realms, as the above cartoon shows. The economy has been moribund for his entire tenure in office, with a falling unemployment rate masking the fact that the labor force participation is at its lowest ebb in decades. More Americans than ever are on food stamps, etc. While a president’s policies need to have time to work, one can be excused for wondering why 6+ years hasn’t caused a turnaround.

No Idea

Then there’s this: fifty intelligence analysts have officially complained that their intelligence briefings have been altered by someone somewhere in the administration. While they have been brutally honest in detailing the rise of ISIS and other threats, the White House has been downplaying those threats all along. Again, one might be excused for wondering how that could happen without the approval of the man at the top:

Intelligence Briefing

Then there’s the other side of Washington dysfunction:

Do-Nothing Congress

If only things would change in Congress, there might be more confidence in the federal government. Even if Obama resists Republican efforts to reverse course, the public would be better informed as to the true nature of the problems we face.

Obama’s Iran Fantasy

When Congress reconvenes after its summer recess, the Iran deal will be front and center. We now know some details about a secret side-deal agreed to by Iran and the IEAE, which is supposed to be the international inspector of nuclear development. We now know that the IEAE is allowing Iran to conduct the inspections itself.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Inspected by Iran

How does this not defy all reason and logic? How can anyone believe it is wisdom to let the nation developing nuclear weapons be its own inspector? It will report to the IEAE what it “discovers.” Right.

Yet President Obama is relentless in his push to get congressional approval for this deal. Hey, he got Iran talking, didn’t he? Isn’t that a major accomplishment in itself?

Iran Finally Talking

He was counting on his party to back him, but some are balking, like New York Senator Chuck Schumer.

Enough About Him

Only one other Democrat senator has come out against the agreement thus far, but others are wavering, while Republicans are forming a fairly solid block against it. It may be that Schumer has come out simply because there are enough Democrats who will go along with it that he has been given permission to oppose it publicly for his own political gain. His character in the past shows that could be the case. We’ll see.

Obama’s people also have hinted that even if Congress disapproves and is able to override his veto, he will depend on the UN’s approval and proceed as if Congress is non-existent. Well, that’s been his pattern already, so it’s not too hard to believe.

It is obvious that our president is far more amenable to Iranian leaders who have pledged to wipe Israel off the map and who are in the process of figuring out how to hit America with nuclear missiles than he is to anyone who goes against him politically:

One Response

Combine this fantasy Iranian deal with his fantasy about Cuba, with whom he has now normalized relations while Cuban dissidents continue to languish in its prisons, and you have his worldview clearly on display:

Peace in Our Time

In the sixth year of Barack I, emperor of America, we are in grave danger. We need a radical regime change:

Voting for Trump

Is there anyone besides me who sees a problem with that solution?

Huckabee, the Iran Deal, & Reality

Mike Huckabee 2Mike Huckabee is being very vocal about the terrible consequences that will flow from this proposed deal with Iran. Both liberals/Democrats and some in his own party have taken him to task for his comments. For the record, here is what he said, in context:

This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven. This is the most idiotic thing, this Iran deal. It should be rejected by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and by the American people. I read the whole deal. We gave away the whole store. It’s got to be stopped.

It was the phrase “take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven” that has caused the consternation. The implication was clear; this deal is something Hitler would have approved.

Candidates should be careful not to use the Hitler comparison too often. One must be sure it really applies. In this case, though, I believe it does. The Iranians have made their position perfectly clear: all Jews must die. That’s not merely a sentiment expressed in private; they have boldly declared that goal to the world.

What could be more Hitler-like than that?

Some have accused Huckabee of being desperate, as he lags behind in the polls, and that he only said this to move up his numbers. On the other hand, I am convinced he really means what he says. He has been to Israel countless times—and not only when running for president—and is a genuine friend of that nation, concerned about its future survival. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. In fact, I applaud him for being bold enough to say what needs to be said.

One wishes our administration had the same view. Instead, with this “deal,” Obama and Kerry have pretty much shown their true colors:

Surrender

Personally, I’m convinced both Obama and Kerry are deluded into thinking Iran is a potential ally. This delusion has led to the current deal:

Right Where We Want Him

Their willingness to give up the store, so to speak, is leading us toward nuclear disaster:

Loopholes

Iran’s rhetoric has not changed since this agreement was signed. Its government continues to declare its outright hostility to America and Israel, and even Kerry had to admit some of the billions of dollars to be released to the Iranians could lead to more American deaths. Tell me again: why would we ever want to ratify such a failed piece of diplomacy?

Kerry has said he is “disturbed” by some of the Iranians’ comments, but apparently he’s not disturbed enough to be snapped back to reality. What will it take?

That's Disturbing

Congress needs to take its responsibility seriously. It must defeat this deal with two regimes that cannot be trusted:

History of Deception

Indeed, there is nothing trustworthy about this president or any of his minions.

Needed: A Republican Spine

The new legislative session is underway. President Obama, even before any piece of legislation was introduced, already indicated his staunch position of using the veto for nearly everything a Republican Congress wants to pass. Should that be considered a preemptive strike?

The president doesn’t like the idea that Congress can have a say in things. That pesky Constitution just keeps getting in his way. His “Reagan Moment” is slightly different than the original:

Tear Down This Wall

The Republicans, meanwhile, had their own little scrape within: an attempt to deny John Boehner the Speaker’s chair. It didn’t succeed, and I knew it wouldn’t. Many on the Right are so disgruntled with Boehner that they almost can’t stand the idea of his continuance in that position.

Personally, I would like a different congressional leader as well—in a perfect world. However, the opposition to Boehner was disorganized and doomed from the start. It takes more than being a conservative firebrand to be put in charge. One also needs the organizational skills and the ability to project a vision and create unity. None of the challengers had those qualities, apparently. What’s even more interesting is that Boehner’s voting record is more conservative than some of those challengers.

Speaker Boehner, though, seems to have gotten the message, both by the election results and the abortive attempt to remove him. He allowed conservatives to shape the legislation to overturn Obama’s executive amnesty. It passed the House and is now before the Senate. The House also passed, with significant Democrat support, the Keystone pipeline bill. Both bills will probably be subject to a presidential veto, and it will be difficult to override the vetoes. What that does, however, is put Obama on the record as opposing measures that many Americans want to see made law.

Will Republicans in Congress continue to chip away at the Obama legacy? It will take real leadership based on principle:

Human Spine

Then, over the last weekend, we got the news that Mitt Romney might be running again. I made it clear last time around that he was not my choice, but that I had no real option but to support his candidacy—it was the only possible way to remove Obama from office.

Although I think Romney is a nice person, I’ve never trusted him to be consistently principled in a conservative philosophy of government. I still have a hard time believing he got the nomination after being the face of Romneycare in Massachusetts, which was the model upon which Obamacare was based. The now-infamous Jonathan Gruber was the architect for both.

If Republicans go for the squishy middle once again in 2016, I predict failure once again. This will be Romney’s third attempt for the presidency. If he falls short this time, does that mean he’ll finally stop trying?

Romney 2036

After a while, one tends to become a joke.

Whom should the Republicans nominate in 2016? Well, my thoughts on that will have to wait. We’re not close enough yet to know for sure who’s really serious about running. But when we get to that point, I promise I won’t stay silent.