Healthy Candidates?

The health of the presidential candidates has come into prominence as the election approaches, as well it should. In the past, candidates have tried to hide health problems, so we are seeing nothing new today.

Franklin Roosevelt was far too ill to run again in 1944, but he did so anyway. He then died three months into his fourth term. John Kennedy’s publicity machine made him appear youthful and vigorous when, in fact, he had a number of physical ailments that led him to trust in a “feel-good” doctor who gave him injections of steroids to mask his infirmities.

Hillary’s near-total collapse at the 9-11 remembrance has apparently caused a tumble in her polling numbers. We’ll have to see if she has bottomed out yet. The campaign brushes it off as simple dehydration complicated by pneumonia. Well, why shouldn’t we trust what her campaign says? Maybe it has something to do with her history of secrecy and misdirections.

reflex

The release of some of Colin Powell’s e-mails, with his negative comments on both Hillary and Trump has caused some stir. Publicly, he has rejected Hillary’s attempt to tie him to the reason she set up a secret e-mail server. He thinks neither candidate deserves support, apparently.

both-idiots

Shortly after Hillary’s “episode” on 9-11, there were rumors of finding a replacement. I know of at least one person who is waiting in the wings:

break-glass

Trump refuses to release his medical records also. Anyone who is 70 ought to let the public know his health status. All we get is an assurance from a doctor (a loose description of this particular individual—I’ll let you research him on your own) that Trump is the healthiest man ever to run for the presidency. The language sounds like it emanated from Trump himself. The hyperbole makes one less confident in the assessment, not more confident.

Perhaps the first debate should start this way:

treadmill

The public’s trust in both candidates is probably the lowest of any presidential election. The percentage of voters who have chosen third-party candidates in previous elections is about 9%; some are saying that percentage may conceivably double this time.

Yet, when it comes right down to it, it was the voters who chose to go with these candidates in the first place.

examination

We reap the consequences of our foolish choices.

Hillary & the Seared Conscience

The Scriptures tell us how people can develop a seared conscience. It comes from committing a sin so often that, after a while, it no longer bothers the person committing the sin. The sin itself becomes part of that person’s character.

We see two outstanding examples of this phenomenon in both of our principal presidential candidates, but Hillary Clinton’s propensity for unremitting lying has been getting most of the attention lately . . . and shall I say finally?

Nearly every statement she has ever made about her e-mail server has now been publicly exposed as a lie. The latest revelations in the FBI notes when that agency interviewed her are that her people used what they hoped would be a super-strong program to wipe the server clean and that many of the phones she used were destroyed, sometimes simply by using a hammer.

try-more-bleach

problem-with-phone

Intimately connected with the server/e-mail lies are the lies associated with the now-infamous Clinton Foundation, the recipient of funds from people (some being foreign powers) who sought favors from the Hillary-led State Department, which is probably the reason for all the e-mail server secrecy in the first place:

every-lie

But what has caught the public’s attention more recently was Hillary’s collapse as she exited the 9/11 ceremony early on Sunday. If you have seen the video, it is startling just how incapacitated she appeared, having to be supported wholly by others as she was practically thrown into the waiting van.

Eventually, the campaign said she was suffering from pneumonia. With all the stories circulating about far worse health issues, many are finding that explanation something less than believable. If she will lie about everything else, why not her health?

i-can-treat

Whatever her real condition, one can gauge how serious it must be if one follows the Clintons’ history:

must-be-serious

Perhaps the most amazing thing about the episode is the relative silence coming from Donald Trump. What happened to his Twitter account? Where are the usual insults and inane comments that his campaign has to clarify afterwards?

response

Those of you who thought you were getting someone who was not a “manufactured” candidate might have to rethink that assumption. The professionals are doing all they can to make him seem credible and normal. Give them a break; it’s a tough job.

Seeking God’s Mercy in an Election Year

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump continue to make news, not all of it very inspiring. Well, hardly any of it inspiring.

On Hillary’s part, the key has been to hide as much bad news as possible, such as the Labor Day weekend dump of the notes made by the FBI when she was interviewed. The hope was that no one would pay attention on a holiday weekend. The word is getting out, though, that she plays fast and loose with the truth on nearly everything.

The Hillary camp’s mantra, though, remains consistent:

Notes

Then there’s the issue of her health. It’s not just anti-Hillary outlets that are now commenting on it. It’s hard to ignore increasing coughing spells that last for minutes.

Happens Every Time

So, naturally, Trump makes an issue of it as well, raising questions about whether she can handle the office. He demands she release her medical records. I agree she should. The other side of the coin, of course, is that 70-year-old Trump should do the same, but he refuses also. Shouldn’t this apply to both equally?

Then there’s the demand from the Clinton camp that Trump needs to release his tax returns. On this point, I am in complete agreement. In the same way that she seeks to hide her health records, he seems bent on letting no one see the truth about his income, charitable deductions, or other questionable things that might come to the surface upon examination.

Hypocrisy abounds for both.

Trump also is making news about his position on immigration—whatever that really might be. It kind of depends on the day and the audience before which he is speaking.

Immigration Position

This election season corresponds with the height of hurricane season. There are similarities:

Two Storms

Never have the two presidential candidates in an election year been so roundly despised by the electorate:

Negative & Negative

This has led to new strategies for voters:

Cancel Out

For my part, I think we lose regardless of who wins. That’s why I will not vote for either one. I’ve covered the ground before for why I have come to that decision, so I won’t repeat it all here.

My hope is that those who claim to be Christians will humble themselves and admit there is no human solution to our problems and cease to promote anyone who doesn’t deserve our support. Perhaps then God will show mercy and do things behind the scenes to lessen the consequences of our foolishness as a nation.

2016 Is Not a Replay of 1980

So we now have the notes the FBI took when they interrogated Hillary Clinton about her e-mail server. What have we discovered? She is adept at blaming her staff for everything and protesting that she doesn’t “recall” almost anything having to do with training on how to handle sensitive documents.

This is after having signed forms that testified she knew the specifics of how to handle such documents. What comes across is that she is playing the “I just don’t get all this technology” card in an attempt to escape prosecution (which the Justice Department at the behest of the FBI has allowed her to do).

Don't Understand

And we’re supposed to believe this baloney. It’s about as surreal as it can get. Has there ever been a presidential candidate who has been exposed as this corrupt before?

Self-Inflicted

Yet she may be our next president.

With Donald Trump putting illegal immigration back in the news with his foray into Mexico and his speech on the topic afterwards, one might want to ask Hillary (if anyone is allowed to ask her anything) what her stance is on the subject.

Ready to Assimilate

I’ve read parts of the transcript of Trump’s speech and seen excerpts. While there are points in the speech with which I agree, I still can’t stand his attitude. This is the moderate Trump?

Earlier in the day, he was all sweetness and light with the Mexican president. Later, in the speech, he threw out the red meat to his followers, sounding like the “old” Trump. One thing his followers might have missed, though, is that he didn’t say what he would now do with those currently living here illegally. Wasn’t the big deportation thing one of the main reasons he amassed such rabid support at the start? Now he’s backing down on it (which only makes sense) and very few of his supporters seem to have a problem with his flip-flop on an issue that they considered a cornerstone.

Consistency

He’s been all over the place, trying to come up with something that can be called a genuine policy. He’s done the same with abortion in the past. He’s totally unreliable.

Back in 1980, we were in the throes of the Carter administration. That led to a revival of common sense under Ronald Reagan. Some people are seeing a historical parallel in that we are in dire straits similar to what we experienced under Carter, and that another Reagan is waiting around the corner. Here, though, is where the parallel breaks down.

Doesn't Cheer My Up

Donald Trump is no Ronald Reagan and 2016 is not a replay of 1980. Sadly.

Where I Come From & Where I Am Today

I’ve been musing the past few days on the roots of my political and/or governmental philosophy. Why am I where I am today in my understanding of what’s best for the governing of this nation?

I wasn’t raised in a home that taught me what I now believe, so it’s not a matter of merely copying what my parents thought. In fact, I grew up thinking the Democrats were the party to support.

I was conservative as far as I understood what conservatism was, but didn’t grasp the drift taking place in that party. I thought that because I was sympathetic to the civil rights movement, I was a good Democrat.

Liberal-ConservativeIt took a conversation in college with someone knew the difference to show me I was truly a conservative in outlook and that my views lined up better with the Republicans. That actually surprised me.

Yet I didn’t just follow the advice of that person blindly. I began to investigate what I should believe and why. Two factors guided my thinking: my growing Christian faith and the influence of certain writers I was beginning to enjoy reading.

First, I began to learn about Biblical principles and how they should be applied to society, including government. Those principles continue to guide me today.

William F. Buckley Holding BookSecond, two periodicals honed my thinking in accordance with those Biblical principles: National Review and The Freeman. The first offered witty and insightful commentary on the current political scene, and I greatly admired William F. Buckley, the founder of the magazine; the second grounded me in free-market concepts.

When I decided to pursue my doctorate in history, I was in a time of uncertainty spiritually. I was searching to see if anything else could fill that void. My professors, generally speaking, were far more liberal than I, and some of the reading I was given allowed me to test my convictions. Would they stand?

They did. I was now grounded in what liberals thought, as I expanded my understanding of both worldviews.

My advanced degrees offered no answers for life; God mercifully drew me back to Himself. Yet that pursuit of higher education did prepare me to better define what I believed and why.

My path to what I believe is not everyone’s path, by any stretch. My spiritual quest combined with my educational quest to make me what I am. It was a fascinating integration of intellectual and emotional satisfaction.

TextbooksI have been in higher education circles ever since. Seven of my years of teaching were at the graduate level; another five at a college that stressed classical education.

In my courses, I try to communicate to my students a worldview that is spiritually and intellectually sound.

I’ve always approached politics from this foundation of Biblical principles and solid reasoning from a well-grounded conservative philosophy. I don’t repent of any of this, but I do think my approach has left me a little bewildered by the politics of 2016.

As I meditate on what has developed politically over the past year, I have been astounded by what seems to me to be a devastating loss of principle in both the Christian world and the corresponding conservative world.

Donald Trump at DebateI’ve been trying to understand why this is so. You see, for me, the first time I saw Donald Trump on the stage with all those other candidates, I came away thinking that this was the biggest con of recent political history and that no one would take him seriously. Why? Because I didn’t perceive him as a serious candidate.

Trump had no command of the issues. He was an egotist who blustered, interrupted, and insulted anyone he thought was in his way. His entire history was as a liberal Democrat, and now he was trying to convince everyone he was a Republican.

I thought everyone would see through this charade. I’ve been sorely disappointed.

True, he didn’t get the majority of Republican votes in the primaries. I console myself with that fact. But once he became the nominee, so many who had previously said he was unacceptable suddenly decided he was now worth supporting, and anyone who disagreed should be shamed and guilted (is that a word?) into abandoning their principles and declaring their undying allegiance.

My entire background and training doesn’t allow me to board this train. I’m dismayed that so many others have decided to do so.

PrinciplesI’ve learned a valuable lesson, though. I have to realize that not everyone makes decisions based on principles only. Sometimes emotions carry the day. The emotion that leads some to vote for Trump now is fear—fear of a Hillary Clinton presidency.

I understand that fear. What I don’t get is why those same voters don’t see the danger of a Trump presidency as well. In my view, both are equally undesirable.

Some probably wonder why I continue to warn about Trump when it is clear that one or the other—Trump or Hillary—will be the next president. The answer is this: I’m looking beyond this election; I’m trying to keep us thinking about what comes next and whether there will be a Christian witness left to the nation after this, and whether there will be any conservative movement to build upon and salvage the disaster that is sure to come regardless of who wins this particular election.

We need to be principled people. My task, I believe, is to stay true to that calling and convince as many others as possible to do the same.

The Hillary-Donald Week in Review

This has been a bad week for both presidential candidates. Let’s begin with Hillary.

The evidence is piling up that the infamous Clinton Foundation is little more than a conduit to enhance Hillary’s climb to power, fueled by funds from foreign sources.

It's Set

I'm Bribing Her

Remember that kerfuffle back in 2008 about who would be most ready to answer a 3 a.m. phone call? Well, now we know the answer:

This Is Hillary

We now know that big donors to the Clinton Foundation got a fast track for meetings with the then-secretary of state and that really nice favors followed in the wake.

In most worlds, this is called corruption.

When a Clinton is caught in corruption, however, the response is classically Clintonian:

You Feel Terrible

All of this stems, of course, from the whole e-mail controversy. Hillary keeps trying to say that she only did what other secretaries of state, like Colin Powell, have done. Never mind that no previous secretary of state set up a private server and then attempted to delete everything that would be incriminating.

Powell Made Me

After months of using Powell as a cover, he finally came out and lambasted her this week, saying he never told her to do this.

And guess what? Another 15,000 “lost” e-mails were found. Now we’re told some of the contents of those will be made public by mid-October.

Another Cache

Forget the corruption. She should be denied the presidency due to complete incompetence. She can’t even delete e-mails well.

Then, in the last couple of days, Donald Trump has decided that his long-promised deportation of illegals just won’t happen. That would be unkind, or something.

His new position (subject to change daily, or from one interview to the next) is not much different than what Rubio and Bush have promoted.

Wait a minute, wasn’t this strong immigration stance the closest he’s ever come to having a solid policy position on anything? Wasn’t this the primary reason why so many people jumped on his bandwagon to begin with?

Poor Ann Coulter, who is now on a book tour for her newest offering titled In Trump We Trust. Set aside for the moment the attempt to make Trump into God’s replacement. She is in no small amount of agony because she has stated that a change in his immigration policy would be a betrayal. I wonder how the book tour is going now?

Trump’s attempt to be a rational human being is certainly laudable, but it also has to be genuine. I don’t see that happening.

Reboot

So where are we at this point in the race?

Reality Show Prank

Too close to the truth.

A Squandered Opportunity

There has never been a more eminently beatable candidate than Hillary Clinton. Yet she is now poised to win the presidency despite her manifold lies, despicable character, disastrous tenure as secretary of state, and no real record of accomplishments.

The latest is that the FBI has now “found” another 15,000 e-mails that ran through her private server. We will be told what is in some of those by mid-October, according to the report I read.

One has to wonder if FBI director Comey may now be forced to reopen the investigation for the purpose of an indictment after all. Of course, with the Obama administration still in charge, that is probably a fantasy.

Hillary has also made herself scarce when it comes to answering questions from the press, having not held a press conference for something like 200 days. What other candidate would be allowed to get away with that?

Next Question

Questions have been raised about her health, stemming from a possible concussion a few years ago. Some of that may be pure speculation, but there are legitimate concerns about whether she is really up to handling any responsibility, let alone the presidency.

Hillary's Health

Polls show that a significant number of Americans don’t really trust her and believe she lies about almost everything.

And yet she is on the verge of occupying the Oval Office.

This was supposed to be the year when we could put the Clintons behind us forever. This was the year Republicans were practically salivating over, after two disastrous Obama terms. This was the year when widespread revulsion over what has transpired over the past eight years would give Republicans the chance to fulfill their promises.

Then this happened.

Eminently Beatable

I’ve been accused by some of “Trump-bashing.” The reality is the Republican voters and the establishment have joined together to bash themselves with a Trump candidacy, thereby losing the greatest opportunity ever presented to them.

They said they wanted a candidate who tells it like it is. They blindly followed someone who fed their anger and fears. They stopped thinking and just let their emotions take over. This is the result.

Tells It Like It Is

Set aside, for the moment, all the ideological reasons why Trump is a bad nominee. Don’t think about, for now, his character (equal in despicability to Hillary’s). Just look at how he’s conducting this campaign.

Trump promised to spend a billion dollars of his own money on the campaign. He has thus far contributed $50 million. Why not more? Why has he not fulfilled that promise? Could it be because he’s something like $650 million in debt, far more than what people thought? Is he really telling us like it is?

In his most recent campaign disclosure, we find that Trump spent nothing on ads in June. The total raised in July is only one-third of what Romney raised that month in 2012.

Of the $18 million spent in July, $8 million went to a web-design firm for fundraising, which is a little disproportional.

The campaign spent $500,000 on hats.

The campaign spent $2.5 million on private air travel, which is six times more than what it spent on staff, state organization, and ground game in the states.

Conservative commentator Steve Deace points out the following instances of incompetence:

What would we say if trailing consistently in polls, Hillary Clinton decided to hold rallies in unlosable blue states like California and Massachusetts with less than 80 days to go before the election? Because that’s essentially what Trump is doing by campaigning in Texas and Mississippi this week.

Trump lacks organization in Hamilton County, which may be the most pivotal county in must-win Ohio. Last week, Trump opened a second field office in must-win Florida, where Hillary Clinton already had 14 field offices. Trump’s organization lags behind Hillary’s in Virginia, which no Republican has won the presidency without since before Reconstruction.

Earlier this summer GOP leaders in Pennsylvania, which is crucial to any hopes Trump has of winning the White House, said there was “almost no sign” of a Trump organization there.

This is virtually a no-hope candidacy.

I’ll restate it: Hillary Clinton is the most eminently beatable candidate in recent history. Republicans have squandered their best hope. What remains is the issue of whether the party can pull itself together again after this fiasco.