July 25, 2015

The upcoming Fox television debate with the leading Republican hopefuls will be one hell of a summer entertainment experience. The reason – Donald Trump. Trump continues to remain front and center, while the Republican establishment has no real strategy for responding to The Donald and his “I’ll say anything to rally the conservative base” game plan. Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio will try to present themselves as reasonable, clear-thinking and presidential, but to many conservatives this is a campaign that is being driven by voters who are sick and tired of moderate platitudes, general promises and old-style Washington politics. Even the Democratic base has gotten into the act as Hillary struggles while that Vermont socialist, Bernie Sanders, controls the issue arena of the left.

For Trump this debate is vitally important to his future as a viable presidential candidate. He has the money and the visibility to remain in the mix well beyond the time when the field is whittled down to a few stalwarts. But he will have to show that he has policy prescriptions and a vision that make him more than a caustic thorn in the side of the Republican mainstream. If he presents himself during the debate as a candidate that can indeed balance off the cuff shout outs with commonsense solutions to real issues and a pathway to “Make America Great” then watch out- Trump becomes more than an embarrassing distraction.

It is no secret that Trump is driving the other candidates crazy as they don’t know how to respond to his take no prisoners campaign. If they out shout him with off the wall statements, they risk the support from the mainstream Republicans; if they look too cautious and conciliatory on issues like immigration, Iran and defense they risk the revenge of the grassroots voters in the party who turn out in droves for the primaries. Right now Trump has the advantage and only he can lose that advantage if he presents himself as the candidate of a new version of the Know Nothing Party of the 1840s.

Usually summertime evenings are for sitting on the deck with a cold one or watching baseball, but the Fox Republican debate is just about guaranteed to have some real low drama and memorable charges and counter charges. As the campaign for the President of the United States moves forward it will be interesting to find out if the voters are so sick and tired of Washington politicians that they look to a real outsider who will say anything, even if he doesn’t have real answers to real problems.


October 15, 2012

There’s been a considerable amount of liberal/Democratic ink used in recent days concerning billionaires whining about the Obama administration and what could happen to this country if he were to be reelected. Jack Welch, former GE CEO claimed that the unemployment numbers were “cooked”, Donald Trump predicts the downfall of American capitalism, Steve Wynn of Las Vegas is worried about creeping socialism and the Koch Brothers of Texas are so anti-Obama that their heads nearly explode at the mention of his name.

So why are these super-rich guys so upset with Obama and predicting dark days ahead if he gets four more years. It couldn’t be because corporate earnings and profits are down – they’re in large part on an upward path. It couldn’t be because the stock market has tanked – it has regained much if not all of its pre-meltdown position. It couldn’t be because the housing market it in the doldrums – most signs point to a real uptick in housing. And it couldn’t be because we are in a recession or a near recession – no economist worth his/her salt is talking about a recession, only a steady but slow recovery.

So why all the whining? Well you probably guessed it already. These guys, these billionaires are worried that Obama and the Democrats will make them pay millions more in taxes. It’s all about them and their wealth, not about fairness, not about attacking the debt, not about the fact they made a tax windfall the last ten years. No, its about paying up and losing what will likely be a miniscule portion of their billions.

Someone ought to tell these guys that there is no whining in politics.  There is reasoned arguments,  policy studies, independent analysis, not conspiracy theories, bogus socialism claims, and predictions about the end of America. Anyone who reads what these guys are saying can quickly see what their game is. It’s not about the fiscal health of the country, its about protecting their wallets. So much for the common good.

In St. Mark’s gospel yesterday, Jesus talked to the rich man and asked him to give away his wealth to the poor and join him. Then Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of an needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. If Jesus was right, these billionaires may have a lot to answer for down the line.