Tag Archives: republican

Wow, what a mess! American Politics

Sometimes (no, most of the time), I scratch my head and try to figure out how we got here. How did we end up with Donald Trump in the White House, and with Republicans with majorities in both the House and the Senate? As with most things these days, I concede that the answer is complex. I think it is easy to blame Hillary Clinton for running one of the worst campaigns in history. We can also blame the media for giving Donald Trump nearly unlimited airtime for months on end. I guess we could blame the Democratic Party for not fostering a selection of good candidates who would be able to relate to America. We can go back and blame the media again for giving us a steady diet of complete drivel – reality TV.

First, I think we must examine our election process. Again, the media play a big role. 30 or 40 years ago, when a candidate was running for president, he would sit down with the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire. Those Americans were chosen to be the gatekeepers. They would weed out the knuckleheads from the serious candidates. If you were an average citizen, you had little or no knowledge of the inner workings behind the politics of Iowa and New Hampshire. It was rare that you ever heard a speech from Iowa. You were not privy to the town hall meetings; nor the county fairs. Now, with 24-hour television, radio and blogs, nothing goes uncovered. Every time a candidate blows their nose, it is reported on any number of networks. We know exactly what type of tissue was used. Overb the last twenty years, the whole political procesd has changed from discussing policies on how to make America better to something much more superficial. Our political process has become the ultimate reality TV show. It is about gaffes, zingers, one-liners, and who had their “oops” moment – like former Texas governor Rick Perry. Bernie Sanders is talking about serious policy issues. Boring! Look, Trump is throwing around a bottle of water pretending to be Rubio. Now, that’s funny. That’s entertaining.

For the most part, you or I could probably give an average political speech without breaking a sweat. You know the average Republican will talk about cutting taxes, restricting abortions, and flexing American military might around the world. The average Democratic speech will cover better job prospects for the average American; higher wages, fighting corporate corruption, clean air and clean water and – never forget, keeping America strong. While there is nothing wrong with any of these goals, Americans have heard it all before. Yet, the standard of living fot the average American has been stagnant, or has fallen, since the late 1970s. Americans are tired of hearing the same old drivel. Many politicians have become nothing more than noise boxes, sounding much like Charlie Brown’s teacher.

There are some politicians who have done some fabulous work. I’m not saying that they haven’t. What I am saying is, that for the average American who is 40 or 50 years old and makes $40,000 a year, not much has changed. He or she has seen Republicans and Democrats in the White House, and they are still working as hard as ever. They have little or no savings. In order to send a child to college, these Americans are going to have to take out gargantuan student loans, which they have no conceivable way of repaying. Here is the problem. This is the exact concern which Donald Trump tapped into. He spoke differently. He never specifically said he was going to do this or that. He spoke in broad terms – “I am going to make America great again.” He tapped into the frustration of middle-class America. He basically told us that he was going to give us the tools so that we could be prosperous again.

Although identifying the problem in our American society is relatively easy, figuring out how to fix the problem is far more challenging. What thoughts do you have?

The Brilliance of da Donald

donald trump
Da Donald

Nobody saw this coming. If they did, they were quite right about it. With the dumbing down of America, who would have thought those same techniques could be used in politics?

First, let’s look at the dumbing of America. When we turn on the tube, we have multiple different flavors of reality TV. Whether we’re looking at some sort of outdoor survival or some type of show where “strangers” are thrown together, it is cheap reality TV. This kind of entertainment requires no thought process. Nothing. You sit in front of the tube and veg out.

Next, we have the assault on education. This started way back in the Reagan era. We had education activists who wanted to tell educators what they should and should not teach in the schools. Books like Catcher in the Rye and the Pigman were questioned. They weren’t wholesome enough. They didn’t promote Christian values; therefore, they should be thrown out. I will not get into teaching standards that forced teachers to teach to a test instead of teaching concepts. The bottom line is that all of this has made the average school…well, less average than it was 20 – 30 years ago.

Now, we add to this mix Donald Trump. This is a guy who is good at one thing – promoting himself. He has promoted himself for over 30 years. This is a guy who has learned the entertainment industry. I’m not talking about making movies. I’m talking about learning how to get on the front page of newspapers. I’m talking about knowing how to get reporters to interview you. I’m talking about knowing how to manipulate the situation once you are in the interview, so that you don’t get serious questions. His whole blow-up with Fox News and Megyn Kelly was about the fact that Megyn was asking an almost tough question. He didn’t like that and forced Fox News to apologize. Think about this for a second. Megyn Kelly, not the best or toughest reporter in the world (hell, she isn’t the toughest at Fox News) is singled out by Donald Trump because of her “unfair” questioning. This is a stunt, like everything else. It was designed to tell all of the news outlets that he didn’t want any serious questions and it was designed to bring him more publicity. It worked perfectly.

Donald Trump has brilliantly crafted himself as someone who speaks the truth. Give me a break. This guy will say anything and everything just as long as he is promoting himself. The Republican Party is now sensing that they are being driven off the cliff. GOP leaders like Mitt Romney are starting to speak out. Unfortunately, it is too little, too late. Like Thelma and Louise, the GOP are in that convertible with the Donald at the wheel. My advice to the GOP is to put on your seatbelt and look around to see if there is a crash helmet. You will need it.

PS. Like clockwork, Donald Trump has responded to Romney’s criticism.

From TPM:

“I could’ve said, ‘Mitt drop to your knees’ and he would’ve dropped to his knees,” Trump said. “He was begging. He was begging me.”

Trump added that Romney “did a big choke” in the election against President Barack Obama.

“Mitt is a failed candidate. He failed horribly. He failed badly,” Trump said. “That was a race that should have been won and I don’t know what happened to him. He disappeared.”

What would have happened if Barack Obama would have used that “drop to his knees” line instead of Donald Trump? Fox News would have lost their minds.

The deeply dishonest Republican Budget

I’m  currently making my way to a trauma conference. I have internet access – sort of. Currently, I’m “enjoying” in-flight internet access which is kind of like getting access to the internet and kinda not. What makes the internet great is access to content – videos, original documents and the like. With this in-flight thing, I really can’t download big files and uploading smaller files to Dropbox has proven problematic. So, I’m not going to be able to get the work done that I had planned on doing. This means that I can (should be able to), I hope, post to my blog. 

The House and Senate Republican budget plans are so deeply dishonest that they are laughable. Sure, Democrats have pushed “pie in the sky” budgets but anyone could look at the budget and understand the nuts and bolts of the budget. The GOP has decided that we need more mystery in our lives. So, this budget, like several before, doesn’t spell out where a lot of the budget cuts are coming from. One of the most laughable items in the budget has to do with repealing ObamaCare. It seems that Republicans not only want to kill ObamaCare, but they want to cut Medicare on top of that. All of the revenue generators that were added to ObamaCare in order to control costs would be cut, of course.

More from CBPP:

  • Balance the budget in ten years through massive cuts in domestic programs, with no revenue contribution;
  • Hit programs for low- and moderate-income Americans exceptionally hard, with about two-thirds of its budget cuts likely coming from programs for the less fortunate, thereby exacerbating poverty and inequality;
  • Repeal health reform and cut Medicaid deeply on top of that, likely causing tens of millions of people to become uninsured or underinsured;
  • Essentially balance the budget only on paper, with the help of two huge “magic asterisks” that are as large as Chairman Price’s — about $1.2 trillion in entitlement cuts over ten years that are left essentially unspecified, and about $1 trillion from the repeal of health reform’s revenue-raising measures without any identified replacement (as explained below);
  • Cut funding below the already-damaging sequestration levels in the years after 2016 for non-defense discretionary programs — the part of the budget that funds education, job training, early intervention programs for children, basic scientific and medical research, and transportation, all of which are important to increasing opportunity, raising productivity, and boosting long-term economic growth;
  • Shrink federal spending to stunningly low levels, measured as a share of gross domestic product (GDP), that are unprecedented in modern America and far below the levels in recent decades, including the Reagan years; and
  • Eliminate a 2007 Senate rule that creates a point of order against budget reconciliation bills that increase deficits over the coming ten years, such as the 2001 and 2003 reconciliation bills that included huge tax cuts without any measures to offset the costs.

Come on. I’m happy to debate conservatives on supply-side economics. This is not debateable. This is a half-budget or maybe not even that much. Oh, this kind of craziness is new. This isn’t a “they all do it” kind of thing. If you take our democracy seriously then this can’t be tolerated. (Dear GOP, please complete this budget. Insert the magic numbers and tell us what you are planning on doing. If you can’t do that, can you simply admit that you hate the poor and most of the middle class and be done with it?)