Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Entrust the Future to the Future

You ever see someone who does not like something simply because they cannot have it? That reminds me of the Republicans. They bristle at Obama because they do not have an Obama, or do they?

Last month, during an interview on CNN, Jeb Bush was trashing Obama, like all good Republicans are expected to do, when the anchor asked him if he had anything good to say about the president. Without hesitation, Jeb said, "I wish I could walk into a room and light it up the way he does."

The Republican candidates for president pretend to detest Obama (much like they pretend to believe in creationism over evolution) because it is politically expedient. Most of that field, in fact, are probably closet Obama admirers. They see Obama as a winner - a man who trounced the Clinton machine, twice beat their candidates for president, and has repeatedly out-maneuvered the Republican congress. He pushed through initiatives like Obamacare, the Iran nuclear deal, lifting the Cuban embargo, and my favorite, changing the name of Mount McKinley to its original name, "Denali."

Obama has shaken the Republicans' confidence. They wonder now if they can win with "conventional", yet fear that "unconventional" is nonsense, and contrary to the standard they are entrusted to bear.

Jeb Bush, in an effort to capitalize on the Republicans' mess (and boost his own "conventional," candidacy) compares his main rival, Marco Rubio, to the man he thinks Republicans dislike most. There are a number of similarities: Both Obama and Rubio were first-term senators when they launched their presidential campaigns. They are personable and attractive men of color, and each campaign features the prospect of a history-making event.

Jeb, in seeking to diminish Rubio, unwittingly elevates Rubio as the one Republican with the je ne sais quoi to wipe the spectre of Obama from their collective fragile and haunted senses.

President Barack Obama has been a transformative force in American politics. That is difficult for Republicans to admit. Rather than celebrate this man who has pointed America toward the future instead of the past, they choose to bash him. No wonder they are confused.

Kasich and Trump are no more suited to lead America than are Hilary and Bernie. They are yesterday's leaders. The American electorate should consider entrusting its future to the future. And the Republicans might want to give Marco Rubio a good look, and hope that he is the Republican version of Barack Obama that the guileless Jeb thinks he is.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Physics, Faints, and Fumbles in a Fake Primary

The Republican Party is in a headlong stumble. The Democrats are not far behind.

In the lead-up to the Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Democratic National Committee chairperson, banished her vice-chair, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, from attending the event. Gabbard’s crime:  She asked that more Democratic debates be held than the six already scheduled. (There were 27 in 2008.) This split underlies the brazen inevitability entitled leaders wreak upon their supporters and the democratic process. 

The DNC chair is committed to giving its party the bare minimum in order to protect Hillary Clinton from excessive hits. It is much like a football team seeking to limit the number of exhibition games in which its stars must appear. 

In this universe, even politics is subject to gravity. Just as the speed of Earth’s rotation keep it from crashing into the Sun, so does sound politics keep our society from crashing into the Earth. 

All nations depend on a healthy international community to keep themselves reasonably in orbit. That is the crux of the foreign policy debate in America:  How will what goes on over there affect us over here?

Today, America is forced to reconfigure its foreign policy debate in on the run – whether it is pivoting to the Asian Pacific, or reconfronting a re-emerging Soviet state. On Tuesday’s debate stage, the two leading Democrats shared their thoughts on two pressing foreign policy matters. Something each said provide a peek into the trite reasoning of these people who would lead us. 

Bernie Sanders, in a pique over Putin’s adventures in the Ukraine, declared, “Putin will regret taking the Crimea.”

No, Bernie. The Crimea is the choicest piece of real estate in “all of the Russias.”  Its temperate climate has made it the favorite vacation spot for Russian rulers since the time of the Tsars. 

During World War II, Hitler’s troops invaded the Crimea and besieged Sevastopol, home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Hundreds of thousands of Russian soldiers died taking the Crimea back. 

No one should have been surprised when Russia retook it again. (I suggested the probability of a takeover in 2010, there years before it occurred.) Besides, the Ukrainian capital of Kiev was, before that, the capital of Rus, or old Russia.

Hillary shows a similar deficit regarding the geopolitical threats facing the United States. To give a preview of her idea of a muscular commander-in-chief, she pushes for a no-fly zone over northern Syria. Such a move would pose a direct challenge to Russian jets patrolling Syrian skies at the request of the Syrian leader, Assad. They are Syrian skies, not American. We have no national interests there. To lose one American life over Syrian territory – not to mention, risk a major war – would be a crime.

More and more, Bernie is sounding like an angry old Bolshevik calling for one last revolution. Despite his scrappiness, he will never rise above his role as a foil for Hillary.  He cast enough of a glow to add contrast, without posing a credible threat to the Clinton coronation. American cannot vote for him. Putting a socialist in the White House would be an embarrassing disavowal of our victory over communism in the Cold War.

Hillary, on the other hand, is so disingenuous that in the latest Quinnipiac poll, 63% of respondents deemed her untrustworthy. Is it any wonder that Representative Gabbard, a true “honest broker”, wants to see more competition? 

Someone should tell Wasser-Schultz that this Democratic field is not her football team, and Hillary is not her quarterback. Now, Bernie could guard the left flank. But, the other three guys on that Las Vegas stage – I’m not sure what they were there for. They must be the enigmatic “players to be named later.”