So tomorrow is February 1st and Iowans will have the first opportunity to weigh in on who the nominees should be for President. Looking at the field I am amazed at who has the momentum going into the caucus.
On the Democratic side:
Bernie Sanders clearly has the support of the young idealists. But who would have thought admitting to being a “democratic socialist” would not have killed his candidacy instantly. His vision is probably close to American political reality in a hundred years if our country survives as a free democracy that long. However in 2016 he does not have a prayer of a chance of election to the Presidency even if he were to win the Democratic nomination. I am confident he will not get the nomination though he might win in Iowa.
Hillary Clinton on the other hand is probably the most prepared in either party to be President on day one if training for the job means anything. No other candidate in either party has the experience of being close to, inside, and a part of the Presidency the way she has. And she happens to be a woman! I support a female for the Presidency if not in 2016 at some point in the near future. I think we would get better government from a woman President. She might even be able to make our government work again if she is elected soon!The down side for Clinton though is that she has been around Washington so long that she has made a lot of enemies. And then there is the issue of trustworthiness. I suspect her credibility is actually political propaganda but it worries me regardless.
Martin O’Malley is probably a nice guy!!
On the Republican side there are too many to comment in any depth on most of them. I will make a few general comments and deal mostly with the current and likely front runners:
All things being equal I tend to think that governors probably would normally make the best Presidents because of their executive experience. In that regard Christie, Bush, and Kasich should be strong contenders. Somehow though they just have not caught on! The reasons for that may be different for each. In Christie’s case it may simply be his public persona. He comes across to me as a thug. Of course Bush has the baggage of his brother’s Presidential legacy as well as being another member of a political dynasty. I know Kasich best because he is from my home state. He has done some good things for Ohio and may be the most moderate candidate in the Republican race. He is not clean though by a long shot. He has shown a severe lack of support for women’s health issues. And he is currently waiting to sign a bill until after Iowa and New Hampshire residents vote which will further limit women’s access to health services in Ohio. That’s not quite the priorities I would choose in a President.
I like Rand Paul’s view of what the role of the United States should be in the world community as well as privacy from government surveillance domestically. But some of his other libertarian ideas frighten me. I think Ben Carson has nothing to offer in the political arena and probably should take a position as a professor at a medial school somewhere. I don’t understand why Huckabee, Santorum, Fiorina, and Gilmore are even still hanging around.
Marco Rubio I think is simply too naive or is playing too much to the extremist wing of the Republican Party to be a serious candidate. For example he says as soon as he is President he will tear up the Iran nuclear deal. That would end the international inspections and free Iran to restart its bomb development program. So a year after he entered office Iran would have the bomb!! Brilliant!
In response to doubt that he could contain Iran he says that he would reinstitute sanctions and would use US economic power to force our international partners in the deal to do the same. We certainly have the economic power to do that but it would destroy our own and the world’s economy in the process. That is idiotic. If he does not already know that then he is too dumb to be President and if he does then he is either lying or willing to impose a worldwide depression to achieve an unwarranted vindictive event.
So that brings us to Ted Cruz and Donald Trump:
Donald Trump has violated all of the political rules. Regardless he remains the front runner in the polls all over the nation going into tomorrow’s Iowa Caucus. That by itself is scary!
Of the two candidates though Trump is less frightening to me than Cruz. He is a bully, his insulting language is disgusting and there will probably be some residual damage to our image in the world as a result. Nevertheless he is a smart business man and a showman. The pundits are fond of talking about his lack of political experience. But being a successful business man in his league is at least half politics. So he comes to the table with an ability to make things happen and manipulate opponents and supporters alike to achieve his goals. I actually suspect that he would work at making the country greater than it is now if for no other reason than his own ego and financial benefit.
They complain that he is not conservative enough. That is probably right for the right wing extremists but he can get things done. I don’t like his rhetoric but also don’t worry about his position on immigration or any of the other controversial positions he takes. I think he is playing to an audience. Once President, which I certainly hope does not happen, he is not going to do any of the things he is saying now. That is for the consumption of the angry and extremist during the primary season. He is first and foremost a pragmatist. He wants to win and once elected he would most likely find “or create” common ground on the major issue facing the country.
Cruz on the other hand is the ultimate ideologue. He has already demonstrated in the Senate that he is willing to force default on the national debt to get his way. It is hard to even imagine such extreme behavior of any rational and responsible politician. And on the campaign trail he expressed pride in the fact that he was criticized for an unwillingness to try to find common ground with those on the other side of the aisle. Compromise is a corner stone of a healthy democracy and he spurns it.
It is also clear that his words are disingenuous. I can’t tell when he is lying and when he might be telling the truth. Fox News in the last debate helped him demonstrate in his own words that he is a lier at least to someone when it comes to immigration. He charged Rubio in that debate with initiating legislation that would allow amnesty for illegal aliens. He claimed he was always against the bill being debated and would never have supported it. Then Fox News played video of him in the Senate claiming he wanted the bill to pass and was offering an amendment that would insure its passage. I don’t know which time he was lying but he clearly is not credible on that particular issue. That makes me suspicious of his honesty on all issues.
The bottom line though is it does not matter when he is lying or telling the truth. He has already demonstrated his willingness to destroy the full faith and credit of the United States Government to honor its financial obligations to get his way. That makes him the most dangerous candidate for President in either party in my mind!!
Tomorrow should be interesting!!!