If there’s one thing many politicians – although mainly Republican these days – are not, it’s meek. They don’t shy away from confrontation regardless of whether or not the facts support their point of view. And any politician’s inherent tendency is to lean towards political expediency rather than what is right or wrong. So it’s no surprise that these brash politicians when confronted with the many uncomfortable issues they must discuss, would rather pick fights with the media then actually debate certain topics. After all, the media is an easy punching bag these days, and as a group is a convenient strawman.

We’ve all heard it from the likes of Palin who can’t utter a sentence without blaming a vast left-wing conspiracy which she calls the ‘lamestream’ media. But can you blame her? They actually asked her tough questions when she was running for office, and she wasn’t able to handle herself. So, as many unprepared politicians do these days, she shot the messenger.

But in any democracy, a free and independent press is a necessary component of the system as a whole, and demonizing the very people whose jobs keep us all safe by exposing that which otherwise would remain obfuscated, is hardly the right way to go about things. In other words, demonizing the press for doing its job is bad for everyone – everyone but the unprepared politician.

Now, I’m not saying that the press should get a free ride. When asked whether he was running a comic book campaign for presidency, Donald Trump justifiably took umbrage. Now, I don’t like Trump. He’s a terrible person for a lot of reasons. But let’s face it, the question was bullshit, especially in that setting. But is the ‘lamestream’ media at fault, or was the specific person just doing a crappy job of moderating a debate?

The larger issue here is whether or not it’s okay to demonize the media, and lately the political right has made great sport of doing just that. But the media has a purpose, and if you’re running for office in the US or anywhere else, you should know how to handle an uppity reporter. It comes with the territory. And if you can’t, well then, perhaps you should seek other employment.

The same right wing politicians who criticize the media have also attacked the idea of political correctness. But let’s face it, this argument is just another strawman for an unprepared leader. Being politically correct is a good thing. It keeps us on the right path. For instance, political correctness keeps us from offending African Americans by not calling them negroes, blacks, or other offending terms. It keeps us from referring to the mentally challenged, handicapped and minorities with bigoted or demeaning language.

If someone is complaining about being politically correct, they probably offended someone and would rather not apologize. Probably because they don’t really care who they offended. When Trump was told that Muslims in America were a problem and that Obama was one of them, he was criticized for failing to correct the bigoted older man who asked the question. Instead of doing the right thing like John McCain in 2007, he defended his right to not correct every disparaging remark he hears about the President from his sophomoric supporters, and instead attacked the concept of being politically correct.

But in this case, isn’t being politically correct also the right thing to do in the first place? President Obama really isn’t a Muslim. Muslim as a group in the US really aren’t a big problem, and there certainly aren’t any known terrorist training camps. The problem here isn’t political correctness. It’s Trumps willingness to allow his idiotic supporter to continue to believe not only that President Obama is a dangerous Muslim, but that he’s actually looking into things that can be done about it.

To the logical, thinking person, this is a clear cut case of right and wrong. After all, how can it be right to allow a supporter and voter to remain in the dark about facts? How can it be right to purposefully allow falsehoods to permeate the voting public? Obviously it’s not, and doing so is indefensible, but Trump’s attack on the strawman concept of political correctness shifted the argument away from truth and that was the end of that. Now we’re talking about political correctness by the lamestream media, not Trump’s naked demagoguery and foolish supporters.

I think it’s time we drew a line in the sand. The media isn’t lame. It’s not always great, but it serves an invaluable purpose. If you’re not ready to answer any question a reporter hurls in your direction, then you’re not up for the job as a politician. And if you’re beef with the media at large is their focus on political correctness, you’re probably trying to change the subject from a sticky and uncomfortable position, you’ve taken. The media isn’t the problem, nor is the concept of political correctness. You’re the problem. Hopefully the voters wizen up enough to see that.

Trump would turn every Muslim in the US into a potential terrorist.

His talk of ‘drastic policy measures’ plays great to xenophobes, racists, religious warrior types, and ignorant gun-toting right-wing nutjobs, but warrantless wiretaps, shutting mosques and special identification cards? That’s a great way to sow hatred in a population that largely supports our way of life and point of view – at least for now.

Trump’s drastic security measures are a self-fulfilling prophesy. If you can create your own bogeyman, suddenly security becomes necessary and obvious – but I don’t remember the last time a roadside bomb went off in Cleveland. Goodness help us if he’s ever in a position to implement policy.

At least under Obama, American Muslims don’t feel singled out or marginalized or persecuted. It’s what makes our country great. You can’t say that about Muslims in France or much or Western Europe. It could reasonably be argued that Obama’s (and generally American) inclusive policies have had a positive effect by marginalizing the extremists.

But I guess Trump and his idiot supporters are aiming to change all that. Then when extremists finally attack here, these idiot gun nuts will blame Obama instead of the more-and-more Nazi-like Trump and his ‘necessary’ and ‘drastic’ measures, and use the attack as an excuse to loosen gun laws and implement even more repressive, rights-abusing policies.

Nevermind that loose gun laws make it possible for terrorists to easily obtain powerful, military-style weapons in the US just like everyone else. That’s just a detail.

To make matters worse, others right-wing politicians who previously have been more tempered in their political rhetoric are now trying to follow Trump’s lead. Ben Carson today suggested that Syrians are like dogs, some rabid, some not. Ted Cruz thinks we should have a religious test for admittance into the country. John Kasich thinks we establish a Judeo-Christian government agency.

I haven’t heard any craziness from the likes of Palin or Huckabee lately, but probably because the myopic lunacy coming from those with a bigger megaphone is sucking all the air out of the room.

See original referenced article here.


Let’s review the candidates as they stand today starting with Donald Trump. While he’s the so-called Republican front-runner, there’s very little chance he’ll win the nomination let alone the presidency. So let me be very clear about my prediction: Donald Trump will NEVER be the President of the United States. Period.

Why would I go out on a limb so early? First and foremost, you can’t be President and also a loose cannon – and Donald Trump is an unapologetically loose cannon. It makes for great political theatre as evidenced by his TV ratings, but you can’t win an election with 40% of the vote. Suppose for a moment that Trump was somehow (inexplicably) able to cinch the nomination. Now it’s just Trump and Clinton – all the other voices silenced in the primaries. How long do you think it will take Trump to say something stupid like he’s done so many times before – calling Rosie O’Donnell a pig, Carli Fiorina ugly, and Megan Kelly a bimbo. You can’t expect to get away with that stuff forever, no matter how brazenly unapologetic you are. And what works in primary season when only politicos care about the election is different from October of an election year when the rank and file voters start to get interested in the contest.

Next there’s his controversial immigration policy – if you can reasonably call it that. Threatening Gestapo-like tactics to round up and deport millions of illegals is a losing issue with the majority of the voters, let alone Latinos. You might find a few confused Mexican-Americans willing to vote for Trump, but most people are smart enough not to vote against their own interests when the consequences of an election would hit so close to home. In other words, what person would vote for a politician who advocates kicking their friends and relatives out of the country?

Trump is also weak on policy. He’s just a salesman with big, shiny ideas. But his ideas only appeal to the extreme right, and those folks don’t care about substance. It’s fine with them that Trump wants to build an expensive, impractical wall between the US and Mexico. They’d rather deport Mexican immigrants than worry about the cost or practicality of such an endeavor. But the voters at the center aren’t going to be so easily bamboozled and there’s still a year before the election where Trump is going to be forced to debate his ideas with more substantive policy positions. Telling us he’s going to have wonderful, talented people and amazing results will only take him so far and it’s only a matter of time before voters figure out he’s selling snake oil.

Moving on

Ted Cruz will never be president either. Nearly all his colleagues hates him and he’s far too extreme anyway. His tactics are slash-and-burn with a heavy dose of take-no-prisoners, and it will cost him. He’s far more knowledgeable than Trump when it comes to policy and will be a much better debater, but you can’t win from the fringe, and Cruz isn’t a pragmatist. Cruz has a shot at the nomination because he’s not stupid and he appeals to the republican base, so it’s possible he’ll the eventual nominee, but that’s as far as he’ll go.

And now for the rest: Jeb Bush never had a chance. He’s a Bush. I know it seems simplistic in the general analysis of things to say that Bush can’t win because of his family name, but there’s a lot of truth to it. Also, he’s been so underwhelming in his overall performance that it’s difficult to see him climbing out of the hole he’s in.

Kasich, Paul, and Fiorina just don’t have the star power or support to present a formidable challenge for the nomination. They might as well have been on the JV debate stage with never-were candidates like Santorum and Huckabee. Meanwhile, Carsen, it turns out, is something of a whack-o and he’s not going anywhere either.

So who does that leave? Just Marco Rubio, the only other person with a credible shot at the nomination. The problem with Rubio is that he’s no more capable of defeating Hillary Clinton than Ted Cruz. He might be smart, relatively clean, and even able to lure some Hispanics. But when compared with Clinton, he’s going to come up short. She’s got decades more experience than the young Florida Senator and he’ll be out of his league competing against her in a general election. He might not lose some debates, but he’s never going to win any.

Assuming that Marco Rubio grabs the nomination, and putting aside Hillary as a nearly unassailable challenge, Clinton still has two weapons for which the Republicans have no answer. Not one, but two former, beloved presidents. Bill Clinton is still wildly popular with many Americans, and Barack Obama gets passing marks from the majority of voters as well. Both will campaign relentlessly for Hillary and their star power will mean something when it’s time to vote.

Meanwhile who among the Republicans compares to these two men? There are none who do. Former Republican candidates are weak, fringe, or controversial. George Bush and Dick Cheney are toxic. John McCain and Mitt Romney are both blah. Palin is a joke and hardly worth mentioning, except as an example of the ineptitude of the available Republican surrogates. Simply put, the Republicans are a rudderless ship.

So it’s difficult to see how the Republicans win the Whitehouse. This will be the third presidential election in a row where they have failed to field decent candidates. When it comes time to vote, it’s hard to see how anyone but Hillary will prevail.

After universally trashing the most recent Republican debate format, furious activity at both the various campaigns and the RNC ensued immediately. The RNC, in danger of being marginalized, suspended the next CNBC debate and named new people within the organization to help manage the process going forward. Frankly, these moves probably fall into the ‘too little too late’ category but the RNC had to do something given the loud chorus of disapproval and contempt coming from every direction.

Meanwhile, the campaigns – or at least of some of them – came together to try and work something out that would benefit the candidates. That lasted less than a week. Today various news sites reported that some of the campaigns have asked for such things as temperature controls in the debate hall not to exceed 67 degrees, and the prohibition of hand-raising (both of which presumably to shield the heavy perspirers in the group).

In reality, it seems pretty clear to me this whole effort was doomed from the start. This group of Republicans is not cordial, conciliatory or in any kind of mood for actual compromise with each other. Put another way, bomb-throwers and negotiating are anathema.

Let’s review why: The Republican front runner is still Donald Trump – at least for now. Who among us thinks The Donald actually negotiates with anyone? He dictates. When you have billions of dollars, you’re probably used to getting your way, not negotiating. The idea that Trump negotiates anything with other campaigns or TV networks is probably a big fat lie. He’s a big spender and he dictates his terms, take it or leave it. That’s not really negotiation in the classical sense of compromise, but clearly he doesn’t mind calling it that. I’m pretty sure those he ‘negotiates’ with might have a different word to describe the interaction.

Following Donald trump in the polls with the possible exception of the creationist Ben Carson is, well, everyone. And since the front runner has been so successful with his unapologetic xenophobic and misogynistic opinions, many of the other trolls in the race for the nomination have followed suit. The result is an unruly bunch of pseudo politicians with an ostensible mean streak and an inability to agree on, well, nearly anything.

So I wouldn’t look for a tremendous amount of agreement between the campaigns and my prediction is that the RNC will continue to manage the debate process. Not because they necessarily deserve it, but because this particular troop of ‘expert negotiators’ can’t come together to produce a consensus on the debate specs.

The problem with today’s liberals is that we are too busy living in the past. Right-wingers have a leg up in that respect as the party of the future. All the militant talk of purity and liberty and religious freedom is the path forward but liberals are simply too blind to see it. Instead, liberals are busy worried about global warming and international relations when they should be focused inward on our broken and deteriorating wreck of a country which, even as you read this, is surely in its final death throws.

So I have a solution for conservatives to help liberals get with the program. What liberals need is a change of vocabulary to help jossle our confused minds. The words we use have power, and unless we use powerful, accurate, and modern dialog, we liberals will remain behind the curve.

Let’s start with guns because lately there’s a lot of talk of guns in the media. The word ‘gun’ is out-dated. Let’s be honest. A gun conjures images of cold steel, but while accurate, it’s also 19th century and not really representative of today’s mindset. Accordingly, I propose we start calling guns ‘freedom sticks’. After all, what provides our freedom? Our freedom sticks!

Next, let’s talk about victims. First, we liberals need to remember that they are all about victimization. But what a terrible, old-school word! It does nothing to honor the fallen for their sacrifice. It’s weak, frankly, and desperately needs a retrofit from our aging vocabulary. From now on, I suggest conservatives refer to victims of gun violence as ‘the liberated’ to help our uninformed liberal hordes understand the value of freedom sticks.

Moving on to immigrants, the term ‘sovereignty deniers’ comes immediately to mind. Liberals will have a much easier time understanding conservative objections to immigrants if they are called something reasonably descriptive. Sovereignty deniers should be dealt with using freedoms sticks. See how it all comes together?

As a final example, I would suggest conservatives adopt them ‘CEO’ to replace the term ‘God’. We liberals have unwisely made the term God unwelcome in politics, schools, and elsewhere. This is terrible policy, but with all our childish bellyaching about the separation of church and state it has nevertheless come to pass. Still, conservatives know where the real power lies even if they aren’t allowed to say so. All they really need is a change in nomenclature to drive the point home, and who is the ultimate CEO? You guessed it!

All we really need are a few small changes to help our less intelligent neighbors finally see the brilliance of the conservative movement in all its glory. Let’s hope these changes catch on!

Would it be going too far if I called the entire Republican presidential field of candidates over the last 2 election cycles a national embarrassment? Maybe, but it’s not far off.

Let’s start with the last election.

The only candidate in 2012 who had a plausible shot at beating President Obama was Mitt Romney, but he fit in with the rest of the Republican field about as well as a boy scout at a biker rally. He was strictly a business oriented Republican and a pragmatist, not a culture warrior, and most Republicans didn’t care for him. In fact, one might say he was barely tolerated by red state voters who held their collective noses as they cast their ballots. They were voting more as a rebuke of President Obama than an endorsement of then candidate Romney.

The fact that the Republican standard bearer was so undesirable to his own party speaks volumes about how the Republicans perceived the political environment at the time. Specifically, it demonstrated that the brighter bulbs in the party who had an eye on the Whitehouse had long since concluded that running against President Obama was dead end. You only get one real chance at the Whitehouse, so why waste it?

This collective realization from nearly all the A-listers led to a power vacuum at the national level for the Republicans and set the stage for the zombie-like B-listers to wander haplessly into the void. And in they came. Candidates that ordinarily wouldn’t capture the attention of a newsroom intern were suddenly relevant and that’s why 2012 turned out to be such a disaster for the party. The patients were attempting to run the asylum.

Along with the lukewarmly-received Romney there was Ron Paul – a smart, articulate politico but also a fringe candidate with impractical views. Newt Gingrich was on his third wife which is generally a bad thing when you’re aspiring to represent the party of religion and family values, and he had a reputation from his time in congress as an angry partisan. Next there was Rick Santorum who couldn’t even get re-elected to Congress from his own state. Michele Bachmann was demagogue and nakedly ambitious. Her laughable attempt at a rogue State of the Union rebuttal was a debacle and helped seal her fate. Herman Cain was not a politician and it showed. Mike Huckabee was a creationist, and the others were even less notable than the those already mentioned. None was a serious threat to Obama.

Even the Republican electorate knew the field was stuffed with punchlines and they struggled throughout the primary season to find a suitable leader. No one wanted to settle for Romney and he had to wait his turn on the sidelines like the last kid to be picked in gym class. Polls showed voters scrutinizing literally every other candidate in the field before settling on him. A dubious honor with an unhappy and predicable ending.

Fast forward to 2015.

Now that the brass ring is up for grabs for the first time in 8 years, it should come as no surprise that the prospective candidates who grudgingly sat out the 2012 cycle are frothing at the opportunity to stake their claim. Pundits have said that the large number of GOP hopefuls is a result of the Citizens United ruling, allowing candidates to be propped up by a wealthy few, but they are only half right. The other reason is because Republican demagoguery is all the rage among the voters. If the Republican’s 2012 race (and Sarah Palin who came before them) showed the extremists on the right one thing, it was that bomb throwing is a tasty treat for primary voters.

All of these environmental changes culminated, at least momentarily, in the rise of Donald Trump. Trump is nothing less than the pinnacle of bombast, and both the public and the media have responded with open arms, although for different reasons than Trump would care to admit. The stupider, the more offensive, and the more in-your-face Trump has become, the larger his poll numbers. This has had 2 effects.

First, it’s contributed to the further decline of the stature of the Republican political machine as civility and reasonableness have been replaced by unapologetic hubris. This has also given rise to a whole slew of new candidate behaviors that would not have been tolerated in years past. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has been tripping all over himself of late to say outrageous things just to win a soundbite in the daily news cycle. It’s kind of sad to watch, but not unexpected as candidates fall all over themselves to trump Trump.

Second, it’s become nearly impossible for the better candidates to break through the noise, leaving the Republicans wondering for a second presidential election in a row if they’re going to be forced once again to field a settled-for as their party’s choice. Everyone expects Trump to fall, but no one knows when.

The Republicans have a huge right-wing problem and it’s left them a laughing stock instead of an ideological rival. A quick glance at a bell curve reminds us that the Republicans have no chance of winning from the far right. They need the center, period – but bomb-throwers don’t live in the center. So they are left with a shattered reputation and unelectable candidates who can only pretend to compete effectively as malarkey can only get you so far.

And that’s how the Republican party presidential field became such a mess.

Virtually nothing important happened in politics yesterday, with 2 notable exceptions. First, Paul Ryan formally entered the race for Speaker of the House. (But then, that doesn’t appear to be much of a race.) Secondly, Hillary testified.

Ryan’s news was expected. He’s already been running for the seat since McCarthy bailed whilst trying his best to look disinterested. Then suddenly he’s ready! On a side note, his gaffe about family time was slightly amusing as well, truth be told. I’m sure he was thinking that the optics of wanting to be a good family man was probably a good thing – until the hypocrisy of his stated position on family leave was juxtaposed. Epic fail.

Onward to the Circus

As for Hillary, while many in the press have proclaimed there was no clear winner, I beg to differ. For Mrs Clinton, big, big win. Maybe the biggest win before the general election. With one fell swoop, the email and Benghazi controversies have come to an end. The Republicans got nothing. NOTHING. And they spent nearly half a day trying. In fact, they are probably worse off than before the testimony. Not only was there no smoking gun, but they came off as combative, partisan and the entire scene was at times chaotic.

They didn’t even get a good soundbite for their troubles.

If they couldn’t put anything useful together from their so-called ‘investigation’, then that’s the end of the road. What more is left? A ninth investigation?

When they finally release their findings, whatever negative feedback they offer will be seen as partisan. Who expects a positive report from this committee? And so nothing will come from it. I predict 1-2 days of punditry and then silence. With the election more than a year away, it’s difficult to see this as a prominent election issue.


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