Press "Enter" to skip to content

Category: The State of the Union

Is This Presidential Election Really Different From Others?

shutterstock_343758632I haven’t written anything on my blog or on Facebook or Twitter for a very long time, which is unusual for me because ordinarily I would be very active on my blog and social media during the political campaign season. However, this time has been different.

I don’t just mean that this political season has broken all molds and sent all conventional wisdom to the circular file. I also was really distracted by a big move from mainland Georgia where I had lived for almost 35 years to the island of Hawaii (the “Big Island” is really named “Hawaii” like the state). This process took all my attention and a lot of my resources (time and money). But it’s all been worth it as my wife and I see our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren several times a week instead of once a year.

Now, with the campaigns winding down and the conventions gearing up, I’ll put my two cents in. Heaven knows my opinion isn’t needed with talk radio, 24-hour TV news channels, blogs, news websites, Facebook, Twitter, ad nauseum. But here goes nothing:

I really understand my fellow conservatives’ anguish over the primary victories and subsequent nomination of Donald Trump as the Republican standard bearer, since his bona fides as a Republican are tenuous at best, and he has gored pretty much every ox held dear to the party.

But I think it’s important to point out that, if you’re like me, you’ve had to hold your nose to vote for the Republican nominee in every presidential election since 1984! I don’t remember a single time that I was able to vote enthusiastically for the Republican nominee, but I always did because the alternative was (or alternatives were) so much worse. I did really like George W. Bush personally, but he wasn’t conservative enough to suit me. I didn’t think we needed to create the Department of Homeland Security, for example. We had apparatuses in place already that could have administered the War on Terror. We already had too much bureaucracy, but government types seem to think they haven’t done anything about a problem unless they have created a new burden for taxpayers.

And that’s an area that I actually have some hope that Donald Trump might do a good job. As the quintessential outsider, his mandate, if elected, will be to change the culture of Washington. That’s no small task, I realize, but how many people get to the White House without getting stained with the Washington stench of self-preservation at all costs, of empire building and turf defending? Trump is largely self-made, warts and all, and he has already built his empire. He will go in owing no one and, with the sharp eye of a business man who has expressed alarm at the exploding national debt brought on by both parties, he may be the only one who can tame the beast. If he brings his “You’re Fired!” mantra to Washington, the results could be really positive as I see it.

I could talk about how bad the alternative candidate is, but many have done that. Even Democrats are worried that they appear to be stuck with the lackluster Hillary Clinton and all the scandals she and her husband have spawned. There is one aspect that I haven’t heard a lot though. I’m convinced that Clinton is running for President for one purpose: to get rich(er). I believe she expended most of her energy while Secretary of State in selling influence and enriching the “Clinton Foundation”. That’s why she didn’t want her emails to be public, even within the State Department. I believe she will milk the presidency in the same way.

But voting against a worse candidate is even more depressing than holding your nose to vote for your own party’s. I could also point out that a vote for the Libertarian nominee is a vote for Hillary Clinton, just as a vote for the Green Party candidate will enhance Trump’s chances.

So while a lot of Republican voters are upset about Donald Trump, I look at it and say, what’s the difference? Usually we have a milquetoast, establishment-selected candidate that engenders no enthusiasm but I vote for him anyway. This time we have a bull-in-the-china-shop that offends me with the regularity of the sunrise, but he has built an enthusiastic following. Will he disappoint? Of course, no one can be the end-all that some voters are looking for. Will he be a disaster as president? Possibly. Will he further the conservative agenda? I’d say the chances of that are about even with the likelihood of McCain, Dole, Romney, and Bush Sr. and Jr. advancing the principles I believe in.

On the other hand, if he accomplishes no more than decisively defeating the animals populating ISIS, secures the border (as much as that’s possible) and stops the bleeding of the national debt, he will have done what none (in the Obama Administration at least) thought possible. If along the way, he jump-starts the economy, puts several million Americans back to work and at the same time reduces the bloated bureacracy which is the Federal government, he will have worked miracles.


Who Are We Now?

A new poll has found that 53% of Democrats have a favorable opinion of Socialism. While I find that astounding, it does explain a lot. And it prompts me to ask, “Who are we now?” That is, who are Americans at this point in our nation’s history?

A humorous aside: More than one informal, “man-on-the-street” poll has found that many young people think that Socialism is “spending time with your friends”(!).

Americans (defined as residents of the United States) have always been multi-ethnic, multi-faith, and multi-class. By that last, I mean economically; America has been host to a wide range poor to rich, but with opportunity born of freedom which allowed the most possible people to be upwardly mobile, resulting in a strong middle class as well as many self-made wealthy. In terms of culture, America is, nominally at least, classless, with no official lines of caste; no nobility and no permanent underclass.

Fiercely independent, Americans have, for most of our history, blazed trails, literally in crossing and taming a continent, but also figuratively in every field of human endeavor. Freedom gave rise to the optimism that we could do anything that needed doing. Our Judeo-Christian heritage taught us that hard work would be rewarded and sloth, would bring ruin and disgrace.

The recent poll, as well as the presidential election last month, represent a turning point in who Americans are. “Socialism” is a word that was for many years feared and hated by the majority of Americans, even though we have been on the slippery slope toward it for literally 100 years, ever since the institution of the income tax in 1913. In the “Fiscal Cliff” debate, President Obama is obsessed with the income tax rate for the highest income earners, but how many Americans know that the Constitution specifically forbids the income tax and that we did not have one at all for the first 137 years of our history?

“How did the Federal Government survive without an income tax?” we have to ask today, because we can’t conceive of all the programs of the government without it. But in the beginning it was the stated belief of the founders that the Federal Government would never make direct payments to individual American citizens! That’s how far we have moved toward Socialism since our founding. Today many, perhaps most, Americans consider the primary function of the Federal Government to administer assistance programs.

Central to the philosophy of Socialism and it’s near relatives (leftism, Progressivism, Fascism, and Communism) is the idea that it is right and proper for the government to take money from people who have earned it and give it to people who didn’t earn it, except to “need” it. “From each according to his ability; To each according to his need” is the Communist creed. But the propriety of redistribution is no longer where the battle is being fought in America. We have conceded that it is proper to redistribute wealth. We just argue about the rates.

Today, with millions on food stamps, dependent on the confiscated income of others for their daily bread, and millions more on one or another government assistance program, no longer are hard work and self reliance seen as the sure track to success and laziness certain to end in ruin. Today, it is becoming more and more evident that those who work hard, innovate and create jobs for others are anachronistic saps whose function is to be sucked dry by those who can’t be inconvenienced to contribute meaningfully to society. Half of the population pay nothing in income tax, because they “need” to keep their money, while those who have studied and worked to become high income earners and job creators are vilified and subjected to ever higher “progressive” tax rates.

The trend that we are on cannot continue, of course. At some point, the “makers” will stop making because it isn’t worth it if they cannot enjoy the fruits of their labor. Then the “takers” will be in a desperate situation. They will have neither the ambition nor the skills and experience to support themselves and they will be desperate. They will cry to their political leaders for help and their response will be to enslave those who know how to produce so that those who have no experience in productivity can continue their lives of idle luxury.

So, what of the future? Despotism is always then end result of Socialism, because those who must live off the productivity of others cannot allow the “others” to remain free.

Leave a Comment

The Winter of Our Discontent

Since the election results were not what many, maybe most, Americans had hoped for, several commentators have talked about the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, acceptance, etc. I tend to think more in terms of the Death of a Vision; lamenting what might have been. It’s looking like a gray winter indeed.

Many of us were anticipating a Romney administration where extremely competent and knowledgeable people would make the hard choices that would eventually extricate us from the increasingly gray, socialist stupor America has been sliding toward for decades. Instead we will again be saddled with the same economically clueless administration that we have suffered through for four years; an administration that may be purposefully pushing us toward the precipice by the (Allinsky) book.

With Romney and Ryan at the helm, there was a chance that the insane increase in the size and intrusiveness of government might have been stemmed and even reversed. It was a small chance, because the forces of the mainstream press would have joined the Democrats (as always) to bludgeon the Republicans at every turn, insisting that any reduction in profligate government spending represented an attack on puppies, rainbows and little girls’ hair bows.

With Romney/Ryan and Republican majorities in Congress there could have been hope to turn things around and get us on a path to solvency. With nothing changed, on the other hand, we only have gray winter to look forward to, and the dark night of economic collapse hastening on.

President Obama has made it clear that he doesn’t believe in American Exceptionalism. I might agree to this extent: America, which has been the “last great hope of mankind”, can be made to fail, if we continue down the path on which Obama is taking us. We Americans think of ourselves as “charmed”, with “Manifest Destiny” and all that. But what if we are no different from others? What if it was only the genius of our founders in giving us the gift of Freedom that allowed us to because the “city on the hill”, but if our Freedom is taken from us, either by a despot or by the canker of debt, will we be no more creative or courageous than anyone else?

Sorry for the morose tone, but it is increasingly difficult to see a path to turning things around. The president’s obsession with taxing the rich reveals his total lack of understanding of what needs to be done. Even taking 100% of the earnings of people making more than $250,000 in salary would fund the budget for only a few days. But we are faced with ever increasing spending and debt that no one seems to be willing to name, much less to make the hard choices that would solve the problem. 2025 is the year that the Federal Government’s commitments to social programs ALONE will exceed government revenues. But long before that, there will be increasingly less money available for the military, highways, etc., as no one will be willing to tell social program recipients they will have to do with less.

The end can be seen in miniature tableau in Greece, as riots greet the most modest attempts to moderate government spending. Here in the USA, as more and more people depend on the government for food and shelter, Greece is our destiny, unless the American people can realize that when the takers exceed the makers, there will soon be nothing left to take.

Leave a Comment

When The Bough Breaks…

In my last post, I went “Out On A Limb” and predicted a landslide popular vote victory for Mitt Romney. Obviously I was wrong, in spite of Romney drawing crowds 10 times those of the President. I can only think of two possible explanations.

First, there may have been widespread voter fraud in favor of Barack Obama. Maybe we’ll find out, maybe we won’t. Either way it probably won’t change the outcome.

The other possibility is that we have finally reached the tipping point where the majority of people would rather vote for a living than work for a living. This has been predicted by a variety of people, most notably Alexis de Tocqueville:

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”

So I guess at 236 years we’ve done relatively well. Still I’m mystified.

The president offered pretty much no indication of what he will do in a second term. Unemployment remains above 12 percent (in real numbers) and the national debt continues to rise. There is nothing in his DNA that would enable him to propose policies that will turn things around. There is pretty much nothing that can prevent a Greece-style economic crash.

But Greece’s crash only affected Greece and inconvenienced others in the European Union. When America crashes, the entire world will be shattered.

And note that de Tocqueville says a dictatorship always follows.

Leave a Comment

Going Out On A Limb

Not that anybody will care, but I am going on the record with a prediction about the outcome of the presidential election. It’s based on nothing scientific: no specific polling data, no focus group opinions. Just my own gut.

The popular vote will be Romney 57%, Obama 43%.

Of course these numbers totally ignore the several “third-party” candidates that will suck away from 1 to 5 percentage points from one or both major candidates, but I don’t think they will be a huge factor.

Like I said, it’s just my gut feeling that Romney will win by a comfortable margin. I said this about a week ago after the first debate. Then, after last night’s second presidential debate in “Town Hall” format, I felt it was pretty much a draw in terms of intensity (unlike the first debate). However, I’ve seen a couple of quick polls and focus groups that lead me to believe that Romney won on substance, especially with Independents.

Romney definitely has the momentum, with swing states “swinging” toward him. The reason is that he is simply able to present his case for his proposed policies forcefully and clearly, while Obama can say what he’ll do in the next four years, but that just begs the question of why he hasn’t done it in the last four years.

So, I’ve gone out on a limb and made my prediction, if anybody cares….

Leave a Comment