The Campaign Begins

No primaries have taken place yet, but everyone knows the 2016 campaign has begun. Over the weekend in Iowa, where the first test will occur about this time next year, a parade of Republican presidential hopefuls took to the stage at the Freedom Summit to share their vision for what America should be and how they would handle the transition away from the Age of Obama.

Scott Walker Freedom SummitAccording to the reports I’ve read, the two standouts from the event, which was largely attended by the most conservative of the Republican electorate, were Texas senator Ted Cruz and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. Everyone expected Cruz to go over well with the crowd; they didn’t know what to predict about Walker. Yet the courageous governor, who has made reform after reform in a state that isn’t known for its conservative politics, and who survived a recall election as well as winning re-election, surprised many. He was both forceful and personable.

Some who were calling Walker the Dark Horse of this campaign are thinking he may be in the top tier after all. This is all very early, of course, so all prognostications are tentative. Everyone realizes that just one misstep can spell disaster for any candidate. Ask former Texas governor Rick Perry about that.

Two notable no-shows for the event were Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush. You can judge whether that was smart or not.

On the Democrat side, however, there is no race whatsoever. Yes, Joe Biden makes noises occasionally; Elizabeth Warren, senator from Massachusetts with virtually no government experience, is the darling of the radical radicals (I use that term because it’s really rather difficult to distinguish anymore the difference on the Left), but I don’t see that happening. Do you think the rest of the country might also hesitate to put another inexperienced person at the helm after what we’ve seen the last 8 years?

So, barring a physical problem (and some have speculated there may be one), Hillary Clinton will be the Democrat candidate.

Old Maid

One could say she’s experienced, to be sure. But how successful has she been? Her chief claim to fame, while not necessarily a claim to competence, is that she was First Lady during her husband’s reign. But what did she really accomplish in that role? It’s hard not to acknowledge the only reason she has the press she does is because of who she is married to.

As a senator, no one can point to any landmark legislation she championed, and again, the reason she even won that seat was due to Bill Clinton’s coattails among Democrats.

Then there was her stint as secretary of state, with the infamous “reset” button with Russia and the whole Benghazi fiasco, blaming it on an internet video and sending the poor man who made it to prison. What a sterling resumé.

King of Hill

Then there’s her laughable comment that she and Bill were broke when they left the White House. She’s also expressed deep concern for income inequality while simultaneously raking in huge amounts herself for paltry speeches.

Hillary Income Inequality

If universities complaining about costs want to pay her those princely sums, that’s their call, but it’s pretty foolish.

Already the polls show she is far ahead of any Republican challenger in a general election. That, though, is primarily a name-recognition factor. She’s shown in the past she can be a terrible campaigner. If Republicans choose, for once, a strong, articulate candidate who stands on principle, that fluffy lead can vanish. And if the electorate doesn’t lose its mind again, there is hope.

President Hillary Clinton (you don’t know hard that was to write) is not inevitable.

The Republic Is Saved?

So the big shutdown is over. The republic is saved. We may now go about our business borrowing more money and digging an even deeper hole. And on top of it all, nothing was done to chip away at the Obamacare nightmare.

I understand political realities. With a Democrat Senate and Obama in the White House, nothing drastic was going to happen. But when the final result appears to be a total cave, the disappointment among those who take these matters seriously is palpable.

Critics will continue to harp on Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and others who stood tall in their attempt to draw attention to the principles of constitutionalism and reined-in government. As I’ve said before, I’m not sure they chose the right strategy to advance those principles, but they nevertheless performed a valuable service by making the arguments.

The public, and unfortunately many of their Republican colleagues, became skittish about a shutdown that was anything but a real shutdown and about the horror stories of default, even though tax revenues are enough each month to cover all debts, Social Security, and most other aspects of the government. Are we really to believe we can’t live within our means? With 83% of the government functioning as usual, are we truly in dire straits?

Obama and his minions used this “crisis” to their advantage, helped along as always by a subservient media. Not everything went the way they hoped, however:

Capt. Obama

The trashing of the WWII veterans was one of the biggest missteps the administration could have made. It highlighted the arrogance of those in power:

Get Off My Lawn

And all for a compromise—if one can call something this lopsided a compromise—that solved virtually nothing and will be replayed again in a few months:

Pull Him Free

Yet the administration/media theme will forever be the irresponsibility of only one party—the one that at least had some members willing to tackle the tough issues and put us on a path to recovery. If only the media had any integrity, they would be informing an ignorant public about the true source of most of the irresponsibility:

So Irresponsible

We’re back at square one. We’ll rerun this scenario again in the near future. I wonder what a united Republican party based on the principles Cruz and others enunciated would look like? What could it accomplish?

Political Cartoon Potpourri Day

Let’s cover a few topics today and let the political cartoons carry most of the commentary. Regular readers know I like to do this occasionally. I could attribute this to a bit of laziness on my part or simply to my deep appreciation of the cartoonists’ wit. I’ll choose the latter.

In response to the terrorist attack on a shopping mall in Kenya by Islamists who gunned down only Christians, here’s a sobering assessment:

Group Photo

Yes, we’re still waiting for expressed outrage by the proponents of the religion of peace.

There’s another religion out there undergoing a crisis of faith, although that’s not the way the mainstream media is reporting it. In fact, they’re not reporting it at all. What do I mean? The following will explain:

Arctic Sea Ice

Ignore Data

So what can the high priest of this religion do about it? Here’s one suggestion:

Poor Al Gore

The big news of the week, though, was Ted Cruz’s attempt to educate the public and his own colleagues about the dangers of Obamacare. Democrats, of course, have a different perspective on what’s really dangerous:

Alive

Anyone who bothered to listen to Cruz during any part of his 21-hour speech might have come away impressed with his logic and solid argumentation. But, again, his critics don’t like to be tutored in inconvenient things like facts. This comic strip, while not aimed at political argumentation, nevertheless captures the essence of the problem:

Winning an Argument

Perhaps that’s how Ted Cruz and those of us who attempt to point to the facts might feel at this moment. Take heart, though; the battle may be lost, but the war continues. Fight with integrity. God sees, and that’s ultimately what really matters.

The Obamacare Poison

To get the pulse of our mainstream media, all you have to do is compare the coverage of Ted Cruz’s all-night speech to the Senate objecting to the funding of Obamacare with that of Texas state senator Wendy Davis’s stalling speech in favor of unlimited abortion. Davis was treated as some kind of hero, and the favorable coverage has catapulted her into the race for Texas governor. Cruz, on the other hand, was largely depicted as a looney extremist. Never mind that Cruz’s position on Obamacare is in line with all the polls and that Davis’s views on abortion are in the minority—the Leftward, progressive media has its own agenda.

Readers of this daily commentary know I was not completely on board with Cruz’s tactic, but I am glad he highlighted throughout his long speech the dangers and absurdities of the Obamacare law. If nothing else, he raised a banner, a standard, if you will, for people to rally around. Now, will his Republican colleagues follow suit, or will they do what they often do, which is to raise their own flag of a different character?

You Lose

John McCain already has done so. He says we have to respect the results of the election. Well, I respect it in the sense that I have to live with the reality that Barack Obama is still in the White House and the Senate remains in Democrat hands. But that doesn’t mean principles should be surrendered. One must continue to fight for what is right. Unfortunately, senators like McCain have become little more than tools of the opposing party. Some have commented he ought to go ahead and change his political affiliation and make it official.

Of course, the big fear of Republicans is that there will be a government shutdown and they will be blamed. First, essential services never shut down. They need to make sure the public grasps that fact. Second, yes, they will be blamed if they communicate as ineffectively as they are wont to do; but if they can for once devise an excellent strategy for getting out the truth, they should be able to convince enough of the public that it’s Democrats who refuse to go forward with full funding of the government, minus Obamacare. Republicans in the House already have passed a bill that provides funding for everything else. The sticking point is Obamacare. Let’s be honest: what would a government shutdown really look like?

If Govt Shuts Down

Yes, but Obamacare is the law, its proponents argue. True. But if that’s really the case, how can Obama autonomously delay implementation of certain aspects, as he has done on more than one occasion? How can he legitimately provide exemptions to the law that don’t exist in the law? You can’t have it both ways. At least, if Congress is the one defunding or delaying the implementation, it has the right to do so, since it’s the lawmaking body. The president has no authority to do what he has done with what is supposedly the law of the land. I’m not impressed by arguments that ignore that double standard.

The closer we get to Obamacare’s full implementation, the ills of the law become more evident:

Obamacare Kicks In

And if it’s really all that beneficial, why are the ones who made it a law so reluctant to be part of it?

Totally Safe

Republicans need to do all they can to delay the spread of this poison into the general population. If they are smart, they can take steps now that may ultimately dismantle it. It’s so bad it might fall of its own weight, but we cannot depend on that. Action is imperative.

Ted Cruz & His Detractors

Ted CruzThe lines are drawn, and they aren’t strictly Republican vs. Democrat, at least not when it comes to tactics. While most Republicans want to get rid of Obamacare, they disagree on how to do so. Texas Senator Ted Cruz has become the leader of the “defund Obamacare now” approach. He has been criticized for this because Republicans control only the House, and that this tactic will not succeed. Further, all it can do, the critics say, is lead to a government shutdown for which Republicans will be blamed.

I have been one of those critics, not because I disapprove of measures to get rid of Obamacare—it has to go—but because I want to be sure such measures don’t make things worse politically for Republicans. The problem is the uninformed, ignorant public that will follow the lead of the media and unscrupulous Democrats in casting aspersions on those seek to overturn this disastrous law.

House Republicans took the step of passing a continuing resolution to fund all government operations except Obamacare. That’s hardly a shutdown of the government. But will the public understand that? If the Senate refuses to go along with that bill—and it most assuredly will not due to Democrat control of that chamber—how can the Republicans be blamed for any so-called shutdown? Wouldn’t this simply be an impasse with both sides having a different idea on just exactly what should be funded?

By the way, it’s misleading to even use the term “shutdown.” The government will go on operating. All essential services will be offered, despite the dire threats emanating from the Capitol and the White House. The scenario being painted is somewhat phony.

I wish the general public would pay more attention to the tone of the two parties. Republicans are focusing on the real issues, whereby individuals and families are being removed from their current healthcare insurance or are being informed that premiums are rising astronomically due to the Obamacare requirements. One family’s story, told on Fox last evening, showed a spike in monthly premiums from about $330 to nearly $1000. Companies are either dropping coverage or reducing the hours of their employees to part-time. Forcing people into the ephemeral exchanges will also force them into higher healthcare costs than they have currently.

REIDYet what do we hear from Democrats like Harry Reid, Majority Leader in the Senate? He accuses Ted Cruz and others of being “anarchists.” Let’s define that term. An anarchist is someone who wants to throw off all government. Anarchists seek to get rid of all restraint on personal actions so they can do whatever they wish, even if to the detriment of all others. Is that really what Cruz and his allies are bent on doing? Or are they merely trying to reverse a devastating law that will help sink the entire economy?

As Obamacare goes, so goes the American economy, since it affects directly about 1/6 of that economy. But that’s only the direct effect. The indirect damage is incalculable.

Treading Water

Yet President Obama acts like this is some kind of civil war brought on by Republicans:

Civil War

He’s always ready to negotiate with foreign leaders over anything, but when it comes to working with Republicans, his attitude is rather different:

No Negotiating

While I haven’t been won over to the defund tactic, my heart certainly is sympathetic to the aims of that tactic. And I’m more disturbed by the potshots being taken at Cruz and others by erstwhile Republicans. When Cruz appeared on Fox News Sunday this past week, the host, Chris Wallace, let it be known that he received damaging background info on Cruz, not from Democrats, but from fellow Republicans. That’s outrageous. Even if you disagree with a tactic, you don’t try to destroy someone who is working to achieve the same goal you say you are also seeking.

Listening to Cruz, I don’t see a fanatical firebrand who doesn’t understand consequences. What I see is a leader who is hoping to ignite the troops in the general populace. He wants to alert them to the dangers and get them to inundate their representatives with their concerns, thereby forestalling the unfortunate future that awaits us under Obamacare. He’s principled. Unlike the supposed leaders of his party, he’s actually demonstrating leadership. While I’m still unsure as to whether this was the best tactic to achieve the overall goal, I do admire him for putting himself on the line on an issue that others are apparently too timid to tackle.